NICE political debates expose weak candidates

Some aspiring Parliamentary candidates in Kasungu and most parts of the northern region are facing difficulties to convince voters to vote for them as the National Initiative for Civic Education (nice) political debates expose their weaknesses including failure to speak English.

NICE which is a leading organization providing civic education on the forthcoming elections has been facilitating public debates in constituencies where voters are having an opportunity to hear their candidate’s commitments towards addressing issues affecting  the electorates.

During the debates, community members ask their aspiring national Assembly representatives questions on how they would address various issues affecting their communities, such that some candidates have been shunning the debates for fear of being exposed their weaknesses.

Debate time; PP MP candidate Suzgolane Kazomba Nyirenda from Mzimba solola)
Debate time; PP MP candidate Suzgolane Kazomba Nyirenda from Mzimba solola)

Among the weaknesses being found with many candidates include failure to speak English which is among the major qualifications by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) for position of MP, and failure to come up with other strategies of sourcing funds for implementing developmental projects in constituencies apart from government’s Constituency development fund.

“In the previsions elections people had been voting for incapable candidates who had been disappointing them once elected because voters could not have an opportunity to interact with their candidates and assess their capability towards developing their constituencies.

“We are deliberately holding these debates so that people can this time have the opportunity and make informed decisions on who should represent them in Parliament.” said NICE Civic Education Officer for the North, Enock Chinkhuntha during one of the debates held at Chamama, Kasungu East Constituency on Monday.

Chinkhutha, further indicated that the project which is funded by the European Union aims at promoting democracy , and transparency and accountability hence NICE would continue engaging the community members to access performance of their Parliamentarians based on the promises made during campaign.

“Since we know it is difficult for people to remove them in parliament for being incapable because they removed the Recall Provision or popularly known ‘section 65 in the constitution, we shall establish citizen parliament in communities which will be calling the MPs and access their performance every year.

“It is my hope that people will not vote for the same MP during the next elections if he fails to meet their expectations during the first term”, he added.

However, drama ensued at the Debate as people turned against their incumbent parliamentarian Grenenga Msulira Banda of the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party who is accused of doing nothing in terms of development for the constituency since he was elected in 2009.

Things went tough for he as he could fail to respond clearly questions from the voters on various issues including his failure to address health, water and sanitation, and security problems which heavily affect people and development of the constituency.

“During campaign in 2009 you promised us that you would construct tar mark road from Ntunthama to Chamama and now its five years down the line where is the road”, asked one of the women.

And  another woman also asked: “If you failed to address all the issues we are expressing here during the first time, how would you assure us that this time you will achieve it and remain in the constituency if are elected”?

But the aspiring parliamentarian neither answered the questions properly apart from murmuring, attracting booing from the electorates.

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