Government owned civic educator, the National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust has taken up Prophet Sheperd Bushiri’s message of peace building campaign in 10 districts to avert possible post-election court case ruling.
NICE executive director Ollen Mwalubunju said there was need to sensitize people on the need to welcome whatever ruling the Constitutional Court might hand down as regards to the landmark presidential election result challenge case.
“We will still need peace after the ruling therefore it is important to sensitize people the need to accept the court decision on the matter,” said Mwalubunju.
Prophet Bushiri made a national concern in October on the need to prepare the public on the outcome of the Constitutional Court ruling regarding the elections case.
He said: “There is a sense of danger in Malawi. The opposition is looking at itself. The government is looking at itself. Who will help the local people? I am standing up for Major 1 to help,” he said.
In response, Mwalubunju also hinted that NICE wants to bring together ruling party and opposition politicians to a dialogue table to find the lasting solution to the current political impasse.
“There have also been anxieties and uncertainties among sectors of Malawians resulting into violation of human rights including those of women, children, life and property, among others. The situation is not yet stable, and there is a lot of tension. In view of such tension, and potential escalation of political violence, it is critical that key actors in the electoral process and Malawians in general, should be engaged at various levels on the need for keeping and maintaining peace,” said Mwalubunju.
However, the NICE boss emphasised that his organisation is not against people exercising their right to demonstrate, but rather to see citizens enjoying and exercising this right with responsibility.
“As people have a constitutional right to demonstrate, we call upon them to do so in a responsible manner and refrain from abusing other people’s rights and destruction of property but exercise their rights in a peaceful manner in line with Section 38 of the Constitution,” he implored.
He said NICE has, therefore, put in place various civic and peace-building sensitization strategies, including capacity building of community peace building structures, sensitization campaigns and facilitating stakeholders’ engagement and dialogue at community level to promote peaceful coexistence.
He said the programme is supported by the European Union (EU) and the Commonwealth has joined the cause to speed up the penetration of messages.
“With the financial support from the European Union and the Commonwealth Secretariat, NICE has already trained the district MPLCs and District Peace Committee as well as its district civic education officers across Malawi in order for them to work together in promoting peaceful coexistence among all Malawians in all districts,” Mwalubunju said, adding that this peace building mission is in line with NICE Strategic Plan pillar of promoting peaceful coexistence and social cohesion among Malawians.
And speaking in Mchinji when he opened a day-long training in Mchinji, the NICE national programmes manager, Gray Kalindekafe, appealed to traditional, political, religious, civil society leaders, influencers and key electoral stakeholders to contribute to restoring peace and social cohesion among all Malawians.
Kalindekafe reminded the leaders that there will be winners and losers from the court case; hence, the stakeholders should put in place measures to ensure remains peaceful and tranquil.
“With all Malawians eagerly waiting for the outcome of the courts, NICE is appealing to all that whatever the outcome, people should be able to embrace it. We appeal to the stakeholders and the general public to peacefully accept the ruling on the election court cases when delivery of judgment happens and thereafter.
“Those who the ruling will be in their favor should also celebrate with dignity to avoid violence. Whatever the decision of the court will be, it will have to be respected and if any party is going to be aggrieved with the outcome, there are lawful means of dealing with this amicably,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) national coordinator Boniface Chibwana supported the idea of peace building.
He said: “It’s imperative that we emphasise the need for peace, especially at this time.”
Recently, Britain warned that the Constitutional Court judgement on the presidential elections nullification petition could lead to more violence in the country unless political parties enlighten their supporters on court processes and outcomes.
Britain, Malawi’s former colonial master, urged political leaders to coordinate clear messages to their supporters highlighting respect for the court process.
This followed an appeal from the Malawi Law Society (MLS) and South Africa-based Malawian Prophet Bushiri of Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) in October asking political leaders to prepare their supporters to accept the decision of the court.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) also warned that the post-elections impasse could spiral out of control if government and other relevant actors do not urgently engage in a genuine and meaningful dialogue.
UTM and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) are challenging the presidential poll result in court claiming they were manipulated in favour of president Peter Mutharika, a claim Mutharika and the Malawi Electoral Commission deny.
The Constitutional Court is currently hearing the case which is scheduled to end on December 6 2019 and a ruling to follow with 45 days.
Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM Party say they will respect the outcome of the Constitutional Court ruling on the presidential election case following Prophet Shephard Bushiri’s message of peace delivered Wednesday in a televised live news conference.
The diplomatic community released a joint statement where they underlined: “As the date of the outcome of the ongoing Court case approaches, we urge all parties to the case to respect the outcome, and to take tangible steps to ensure that their supporters do the same.”
The statement was signed by ambassadors and high commissioners from Germany, Ireland, Japan, United Kingdom and USA.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :