Minister of Civic Education and National Unity, Timothy Mtambo, has said the main pillars of his portfolio are to ensure power of the people and unity of people.
Mtambo said to reporters in Mzuzu that the new portfolio comes amid the political will of the Tonse Alliance government about empowering the citizens with knowledge to meaningfully participate in national governance, while on the other hand; national unity strives to achieve unity in diversity in order to pursue the collective aspirations as a country.
He said civic education has always been part of the Ministry of Information but it pleased the Tonse Administration to isolate it into a specific ministry because empowerment of citizens is now pursued as a “full project” with a ranking priority in the new administration.
Mtambo said the previous administrations focused mostly on the information and less on the civic education because their objective was to use all information institutions like Macra (Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority) and State media institutions like Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), Malawi News Agency (MANA), among others, as tools of oppression, state propaganda, deception and manipulation of the public.
“The strategy of capturing state institutions of information to manipulate and influence public narratives and opinions in favour of the interests of the ruling elites is common among all regimes that are despotic. They fear to give power to the people and build an active citizenry because a non-empowered citizenry enables them to abuse the systems and escape accountability,” said Mtambo.
The former human rights activist turned politician pointed out that the new Tonse administration is committed to enhancing a well-informed, empowered and active citizenry – which is key to the full realization of a democratic developmental state in Malawi.
He said the government led by President Lazarus Chakwera, understands that democratic governments thrive on an informed citizenry.
“Therefore, civic education becomes key as it equips citizens with public knowledge and information to enhance their levels of participation in democratic processes of socio-economic and public life.
“In this regard, civic education facilitates the creation of a vibrant democratic state where citizens are socially literate enough to demand accountability from office bearers and make informed decisions on matters of national importance. “
He continued: “Our experience with the post-2019 elections has taught us that if citizens are well empowered, then they can come together to resist a corrupt regime and replace it with a government of their choice.”
Mtambo said President Chakwera added National Unity to the new ministry – making it the Ministry of Civic Education and National Unity.
“Our past and present has a plethora of evidence of why Malawians must pursue unity, justice and a healing project. For example, you will recall that some of the grievances that prompted our departed brothers and sisters to rise up and defend our democracy on 20 July 2011 had to do with tribalism, regionalism, nepotism, political intolerance and corruption which has all along crippled down social cohesion and unity of Malawians.
“The fear of degenerating into that era again, propelled our collective resolve to protest without fear after the fraudulent presidential elections of 21 May 2019 and here we are as a triumphant society of that struggle.”
He said through such moments of tragedy and struggle to liberate Malawians and demand a better country, they have learned the importance of national unity.
Mtambo said government will propose measures and actions that shall contribute to the eradication of nepotism, tribalism and regionalism among Malawians to reinforce the sense of unity.
“We shall denounce all manner of actions, publications and utterances that promote any kind of divisiveness, discrimination and intolerance whether on political, religious or tribal fronts. To this end, my Ministry shall support and work hand-in-hand with the relevant Ministries to secure full implementation of the following measures as pledged in the Tonse Alliance manifesto:
- Ensure implementation of a standardized mechanism for merit and competence-based recruitment and promotion in the public service and public offices in order to end cronyism and nepotism; and
- Securing a sustained total abolishment of the discriminatory quota system of selecting students for secondary and tertiary education.
Furthermore, Mtambo said his ministry shall spearhead the formulation and adoption of the National Unity Policy and the finalization and adoption of the National Civic Education Policy.
Among others, the Policies shall strive to entrench national service in Malawi to encourage in each new generation the habits of work, sense of duty and a call to be of use to neighbours and the world.
“This will be conducted through bottom-up approach, local initiative, youthful dynamism, and decentralized action to solve pressing problems within communities,” he said.
Mtambo also said the National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) shall be one of the strategic technical machinery to implement the Ministry’s designed programs and initiatives.
“Fundamentally, the paradigm shift that this Ministry seeks to achieve through its transformative civic education agenda is calculated at securing mindset change in the citizenry. This mindset change seeks to create a citizenry that is aware of both its rights and responsibilities in governance and development of the country,” he said.
Mtambo said his ministry shall conduct nationwide consultations on the establishment of the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission whose proposed mandate shall be to facilitate a nationwide process of addressing prevailing historical wounds and charting a unified way.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :