Minister of Civic Education and National Unity, Timothy Mtambo, has challenged the National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Public Trust to expand its mandate in its programming to cover other equally important aspects of civic life.
Mtambo stressed that it is high time the Trust started integrating issues of nationalism to help the current government create a nation that is not only knowledgeable, but unified as well.
The minister made the remarks on Thursday afternoon when he visited the NICE Public Trust Offices in Area 47 in Lilongwe in familiarization tour.
NICE Public Trust falls under the Mininstry of Civic Education and National Unity; hence, Mtambo is mandated to visit and appreciate the programmes and initiatives the institution is undertaking to create an active citizenship that is able to hold duty-bearers accountable.
During the visit, the minister held a hearty meeting with NICE executive director Ollen Mwalubunju, the National Programmes Manager Gray Kalindekafe and other senior officials.
And speaking to journalists after the meeting, Mtambo said he is impressed with the level of commitment NICE Public Trust has demonstrated over the years to promote democratic governance through provision of civic and voter education.
However, the minister lamented that Malawi remains divided along ethnic and regional lines due to a political culture of nepotism – a culture he said has been brought about by political leaders who lacked patriotism.
“My Ministry needs to work and collaborate with various organisations in the civic education sector to eliminate discrimination based tribalism and regionalism. As such, the NICE Trust is very key as an agent of Government in the sector.
“ I, therefore, call upon the Trust to strongly advocate, in its civic education activities, for unity among Malawians. A nation that is not united is a doomed nation for it often plunges into tribal conflict and civil strife,” he said.
Mtambo said his ministry will, at some point within the 2020/2021 financial year, sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Trust to enhance the management and coordination of civic education services through joint planning and collaboration of activities and programmes.
He disclosed that under the MOU, his ministry will lobby government Ministries and Departments to utilise NICE Trust in the design, formulation and implementation of civic education related programmes and activities and, where possible, sub-contract NICE Trust to implement the same.
In return, NICE Trust is expected to support the Ministry in monitoring and evaluating the Trust’s activities and programmes.
The Trust will also support the ministry in the production and dissemination of publications, and audio visual materials for civic education purposes.
“We also expect NICE Trust to facilitate news and photographic coverage, by the media, of joint community based civic education activities and link the ministry’s website to the NICE Trust website to increase public access to government information,” said Mtambo.
In his remarks, NICE Trust executive director Ollen Mwalubunju lamented that despite being a state agency for civic education, government has incessantly sidelined the institution because of its resolve not to tow party line in its civic and voter education (CVE) activities.
Mwalubunju also complained that successive government have failed to utilize its vast human and technical resources available countrywide, including in the hardest-to-reach areas.
“NICE has professionally and consistently exercised independence, non-partisan, and impartiality in the delivery of civic and voter education activities in all the districts in Malawi. Hence, this has resulted in gaining public trust and confidence among government, CSOs, donors, political parties, and general public,” he said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :