Minister Mtambo dares political parties on citizen empowerment

Minister of National Unity Timothy Pagonachi Mtambo has challenged political parties in Malawi to utilize their respective platforms to help citizens to identify issues that are vital to their well-being and securing a better future.

Mtambo observed that political parties have seldom played this important role.

“Political parties have to help citizens understand how politics can make a difference in addressing those issues. Unfortunately, political parties have seldom played this role. The focus regrettably has been so much on the players and not on the game. Hence, politics has earned the accolade of being a dirty game,” he said.

Minister Tim Mtambo

Mtambo made the sentiments at the Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe last week when opened a stakeholders’ conference organized by the Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD).

The conference was organized to appreciate the role that CMD has been playing in the political space in Malawi; to highlight the strategic changes that CMD has been implementing to respond to the contextual changes and also present the plans that CMD has for the future both as a facilitator of interparty dialogue and an implementer of strategic cross party programs.

Mtambo said because of the lack of focus on issues that matter to the nation, political parties have turned the political competition into a physical strife.

He said politics ought to be a contestation of ideas on how best they can turn the country around.

“How can we show that we are best placed to do that by unleashing panga wielding men on our opponents? How can we show that we have best plans for our citizenry by using foul language? How can we show that we will be better governors by intimidating and harassing our competitors, or by side-lining our women and youth? As political parties, we ought to be welcoming dissenting views as opportunities to show the superiority of our ideas. Another saddening development is that young people who are supposed to be carriers of the vision and agenda of our political formulations are often used as agents of violence,” he said.

He added, “As political parties we ought to practice politics of ideologies and must use the youth as agents of change and development rather than using them as agents of violence. This is a prayer that I am making to CMD that you should show that Malawi can embrace mature political competition. Through your examples, show our people that it is possible to co-exist as a people while belonging to different political parties.”

However, Mtambo commended CMD for the role it is playing in entrenching peace and unity among Malawians.

He said CMD programmes resonate well with the objectives of his ministry.

“CMD sets out to encourage mature political competition that is based on ideas. CMD is an important organization that creates space for political parties to engage in constructive dialogue on matters that promote common interests. It is also an important platform that provides an opportunity for political parties to process their concerns, needs and demands and engage as a united front with other stakeholders like the electoral commission and the police,” he said.

In his remarks, CMD Chairperson Wakuda Kamanga said for CMD to continue with its mandate, and to remain relevant, they had to respond to fundamental changes, including conducting a comprehensive review of its Constitution so that it is aligned, for instance with the Political Parties Act of 2018.

Kamanga further disclosed that the Centre had to continue reviewing its Strategic Plan and conduct organization capacity assessments to ensure that CMD is fit for purpose.

“All these developments have led to the re-orientation of the CMD at all its levels (from the General Assembly, to the Council of Trustees through the Board of Directors to the Secretariat),” he said.

CMD was registered in 2005 as a platform for all political parties in Malawi.

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