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Nice political debates, a tool for taking to task nonperformers

'Most Malawians ignorant
‘Most Malawians ignorant on MPs, councillors’ roles’

Mzuzu May 17, 2019: Mzuzu local leaders have hailed National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) for conducting debates for aspiring councilors and Members of Parliament in Mzuzu City, saying the electorate had the chance to hear from every aspiring candidate about their plans.

Masasa block leader village headwoman Werani in the city said on Thursday it would be easier for local leaders and their subjects to follow up on aspirants’ promises because they signed social contract forms during the debates.

 “Everybody explained what to give out to people in the next five years. This gives the right to people to take anyone to task once he or she fails to fulfill the promises.

“Some aspirants promised to construct more bridges, classroom blocks, piped water and clinics just to mention a few. If we see that these are not done during the agreed period after May 21, it will be up to us to decide and take them to task,” Werani said.

She said for a long time people have been taken for granted by politicians who made several promises but failed to deliver on them and were not taken to task in the absence of the contract.

“Elections of this year have given politicians and voters a chance to speak their voices through debates conducted by NICE Trust.

“I am sure aspirants are well aware that people have heard their promises and have kept them.

“They also know what follows. I am pretty sure these leaders, we are to elect, will change things in the next five years and Mzuzu will not be the same because everybody knows the consequences of not fulfilling the promises made,” she said.

Commenting on the matter, NICE Area Civic Education Coordinator, MacLeans Shabalala, said the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) attracted the exact things that the communities needed.

“The memorandum of understanding is favourable to the communities in a way that what aspirants promised was documented and kept for future use such that when one does not fulfill them, the community is at liberty to summon that particular member.

“This is so because chiefs and community members were present during the debate and the document is legally binding,” Shabalala said.

National Initiative for Civic Education in Mzuzu through difference interfaces has engaged stakeholders, the community including duty bearers, to be accountable to the community.

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