The 2019 Presidential Debates fever is starting to spread through the country as four leading candidates have been invited to battle it out Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe on Friday ahead of the watershed May 21 Tripartite Elections.
Presidential Debate Taskforce Chairperson, Teresa Ndanga, who is also Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi chapter chairperson, has said invitations have been sent to ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader Peter Mutharika, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential candidate Lazarus Chakwera, Saulos Chilima (UTM) and United Democratic Front (UDF) torch bearer Atupele Muluzi to participate in Friday’s first leg of debates.
Nyasa Times understands that the debates which will be televised on taxpayer-funded MBC, private owned Zodiak TV, Times TV, Mibawa TV and other media houses, will be hosted by Reverend Patrick Semphere who was the moderator of three first-ever 2014 presidential debates in Malawi.
He is a consultant in media and communication. management, organizational enhancement, family enrichment and gender empowerment.
Semphere will be assisted by renowened richts activist Grace Malera.
Initially, organisers had planned for two debates, but the taskforce will stage three debates starting with March 29, April 2 and April 5, 2019 with the presidential candidates will be divided into two groups
Ndanga said they changed the format “to ensure the quality of the debates as well as an opportunity for candidates to outline their vision for Malawi and defend their policies and manifestos.”
The second leg of the debate of the presidential candidates on April 2 at teh same BICC would involve John Chisi of Umodzi Party, Peter Kuwani of Mbakuwaku Movement for development, Cassim Chilumpha of Tikonze Movement and Reverend Kaliya, an independent candidate.
A final debate at BICC will involve all the presidential candidates on April 5.
All presidential candidates will be asked to sign a pledge of non-violence “ that their supporters will not incite violence as there would be people of different political views.”
The task force organising the debates consists of MISA Malawi, Malawi Broadcasting Cooperation (MBC), Times Group, Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) and Civil Society Organisations including Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD), Democracy Works Foundation (DWF), Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET).
Other CSOs in the task force are the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), Malawi Law Society (MLS), Public Affairs Committee (PAC), Voluntary Service Organization (VSO), National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Trust, and the National Democratic Institute (NDI).Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :