Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has expressed concerned over growing levels of confidence among presidential candidates saying such may cause post-election violence as some may fail to accept defeat.
PAC Chairperson Rev. Dr Felix Chingota expressed this on Wednesday during the start of a two day interfaith conference on 2019 electoral process at Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre, aimed at equipping faith leaders with information on the forthcoming elections.
“There is no doubt that the 2019 election results will be unpredictable. Each candidate is expressing himself as an automatic winner as displayed by the level of confidence our candidates are uttering to their supporters.
“This is well and good in a democratic election, but such degree of confidence should not overshadow the fact that there can only be one winner in an election,” he noted.
Rev. Chigota said PAC has put in place a number of mechanisms as preparatory measures to prevent conflict during and after elections.
“We have invited all presidential candidates for national prayers where they would sign a Peace Declaration on May 4, 2019
“On the other hand we have implemented early warning and response system using a phone application where at least 140 youth have been trained in the use of the application so at to report violence,” he said, adding that the youth will be deployed in hot sport areas,” he added.
Rev. Chingota warned faith groups of making utterances in respect of some presidential candidates saying such remakes may be interpreted as partisan positions.
The Conference is being held under the theme “promoting a common understanding among faith leaders on the 2019 electoral process “and will tackle key issues of hate speech, incitement to violence and security situation and managing violence the 2019 electoral process.
During the meeting, participants deliberated on numerous issues ranging from rigging elections to conflict resolution and the whole electoral process.
It has drawn representatives from Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), Malawi Police Service (MPS) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Malawi’s 6.8 million registered voters will have seven presidential candidates to choose from when they queue to vote in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections including incumbent President Peter Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Vice-President Saulos Chilima of newly formed UTM Party.
Besides political allies-turned-rivals, Mutharika and Chilima, other candidates in the presidential race are Lazarus Chakwera (Malawi Congress Party-MCP), John Chisi (Umodzi Party-UP), Peter Kuwani (Mbakuwaku Movement for Development-MMD), Atupele Muluzi (United Democratic Front-UDF) and Revelend Kaliya (independent).
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