The Public Affairs Committee (Pac) on Wednesday and Thursday met several presidential candidates including Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) torch-bearer, Professor Peter Mutharika to seek guidance on Peace Pledges in run up to May 20th Tripartite Elections.
Pac met Mutharika on Wednesday in Lilongwe after meeting National Salvation Front (NASAF), James Nyondo in continuation of presidential candidates interface meetings that started in February this year with the two pledging peaceful electoral campaign period.
On Thursday the religious grouping met Peoples Progressive Movement (PPM) president, Mark Katsonga, Umodzi Party (UP) leader, Professor John Chisi and Peoples Transformation Party (Petra) president, Kamuzu Chibambo at Mount Soche hotel in Blantyre.
Pac Executive Director, Robert Phiri told Nyasa Times in an interview the interface meetings were ‘basically’ aimed at seeking guidance on Peace Pledges to be used during National Prayers slated for May 10th, 2014.
“The Peace Pledge document is in draft form and it is wise for us to sell the document to those who intend to attend our Prayers on 10 May, 2014,” Phiri said.
Phiri added: “Secondly we are also interfacing with three Presidential Candidates whom we did not meet last time. You know, Pac was criticised for meeting only five candidates. Now that we secured extra funding it was right at proper to combine the agenda”.
He said it was Pac’s intention to engage with candidates on peace-building ‘on sustainable basis’ even beyond 20 May, and disclosed that the grouping will hold interfaith conference end of this month aside from training mediators in case of major disputes during campaign and elections period.
“We believe the faith community has to also create a common approach to dealing with violent acts. So the national prayers are just one event in a series of a project titled Social Cohesion- Peace and Security,” he said.
Phiri said Pac was monitoring the electoral events to ensure the country host peaceful and credible polls but, was quick to say “It would be too early to make major conclusions. However, as PAC we must be proactive and not complacent in the electoral process. Anything can happen in any process”.
In February Pac met President, Joyce Banda who is also Peoples Party (PP) presidential candidate, United Democratic Front (UDF) president, Atupele Muluzi and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential candidate, Lazarus Chakwera