Malawi holds first-ever presidential debate April 22

For the first time in the history of democracy Malawi, the country will hold presidential candidates debates which are slated for April 22 and 29 and May 6, 2014 organised by the National Media Institute of Southern Africa – Malawi Chapter – and approved by Malawi Electoral Commission.

MEC commissioner for Media, Civic and Voter Education Committee Nancy Tembo and Chairperson of the Presidential Debates Taskforce, Anthony Kasunda, who also chairs MISA-Malawi, says the debates are slated for confirmed the dates for April 22 and 29 and May 6, 2014.

Tembo said the Commission expects “more excitement”  for the presidential debates.

Malawi 2014 presidential candidates: Joyce Banda, Peter Mutharika, Atupele Muluzi and Lazarus Chakwela
Malawi 2014 presidential candidates: Joyce Banda, Peter Mutharika, Atupele Muluzi and Lazarus Chakwela

“This will be the only forum provided to the electorates to compare policies and views of all presidential candidates on a single platform. This will go a long way in helping them make informed decisions,” said Tembo.

Kasunda on his part said the presidential debates will help to promote political tolerance among candidates.

“We also expect the three debates to provide an opportunity for political rivals to show that despite their differences they can treat each other with mutual respect even when they disagree on issues which would in turn promote political coexistence before and after the elections,” he said.

All the twelve presidential candidates, including the incumbent President Joyce Banda, are expected to take part in the debates.

Kasunda said, in the event that some presidential candidates decide to withdraw, the presidential debates will still proceed.

The list of organizations that are in the task force organising the debates includes the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and National Initiative for Civic Education Trust (NICE).

Other organizations are the Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD), Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)-Malawi Chapter, Malawi Electoral Support Network (MESN), Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) and the Malawi Human Rights Commission.

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