Mulanje is becoming one of the volatile districts in the country, joining the league of previously listed high volatile districts of Mangochi, Kasungu and Karonga. District Commissioner for Mulanje, Charles Makanga has has warned.
Makanga made the warning last Friday during the District Executive Committee meeting. The warning comes at a time there is an aura of tension between members of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the break away United Transformation Movement (UTM).
Makanga warned that there was an urgent need for Civil Society Organizations that were accredited to do civic and voter education for the next year’s tripartite elections to adequately sensitise the masses on the importance of peaceful conflict resolution and coexistence during the electoral campaign period.
“Government is committed at creating a peaceful nation as witnessed by the formulation of the national peace commission which was recently rolled out. Under the initiative each district has peace structures and we all have a responsibility to effectively use these structures,” said Makanga.
He warned that incidents of hostilities were likely to be hightened by political differences during the elections campaign period. He was however quick to point out that the district was prepared to handle all forms of electoral related violence through set structures such as the Multiparty Liaison Committee (MPLC).
“For elections we have the MPLC which resolves all electoral related disputes, and we are currently on the alret of any political hostilities that would arise as we are entering the campaign period of the next year’s tripartite elections,” said Makanga.
In may, MEC Commissioner Dr Jean Mathanga told a meeting of District Elections Supervisory Teams members from the south that was convened in Mulanje that the experince from bye-elections the commission has held after the 2014 tripartite elections gave it a picture that next year’s elections will be highly contested as compared to any election the commission has conducted since 1994.
“The experience from the bye-elections that we have held since 2014 has made the commission to conclude that next year’s tripartite elections are to be highly contested, hence all stakeholders involved in the electoral process have to effectively play the civic role to ensure that we have free,fair, peaceful and credible elections next year,” said Mathanga.
And speaking in a telephonic interview on Saturday, Peace Expert, Chancellor College Associate Professor Master Dicks Nfune said Malawi can achieve peaceful elections if politicians started avoiding advancing regionalistic and tribal politics which he said were the main catalyst of the political intorelance the country is currently experiencing.
“If you look at the recent spate of violence involving members of the newly formed United Transformation Movement (UTM) and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) you will discover that these incidents are happening because some politicians have brainwashed the electoralates that they have a right to control a certain tribe or region,” said Nfune.
He however said these acts of political violence can be avoided if politicians learnt to relay messages that could incite violence.
“There is an urgent need of mindset change among our politicians as well as the electoralates, on the part of politicians they should learn to avoid relaying messages that would incite violence and on the part of the electoralates they should vote for credible people and not on regional grounds,” said Nfune.
He however said that while the situation on the ground was worrisome, some structures like the Multiparty Liaison Committees, Catholic Commission for Peace and Justice were doing a good job in the fight against electoral violence.
And meanwhile, the Paralegal Advisory Service Institute (PASI) says village mediation is a sustainable means of managing conflicts to avoid a backlog of minor cases that enter the criminal justice system.
PASI National Director Clifford Msiska told the District Executive Committee Members that the organization has embarked on a village mediation program in the areas of chiefs Mabuka and Nkanda which according to the District Commissioner are also in the list of the most volatile areas in the district.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :