Written by Salome Gangire
Mzuzu, March 5, 2019:National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Trust will be undertaking peace CIVIC education in a bid to promote a violence free campaign period in the run up to May 21, tripartite elections.
NICE Trust Executive Director Ollen Mwalubunju said the monitoring exercise they have done so far, NICE is concerned with incidences of political violence and it is a critical issue that should concern everyone.
He was speaking on Wednesday at Illalla Bay in Nkhatabay during a NICE Trust Regional meeting for District Civic Education Officers in the North.
The Executive Director said the effects of political violence if not attended to could lead to people losing their life and property as it has been experienced in the past.
“Political violence if not attended to more importantly can also undermine voter turnout,” Mwalubunju said.
He pointed out that NICE Trust is concerned to ensure that incidences of violence are contained, managed and that the electoral environment is conducive for both candidates to campaign and also for voters to go and cast their votes.
Mwalubunju said his organisation is ready and prepared to effectively contribute to a free and fair elections so that 80 per cent of those who registered come May , 2019 should go and cast their vote because any successful elections is measured by the number of voter turnout.
“So even if NICE and others can intensively motivate people to vote but people may be scared so in order to avoid violence to contribute towards voter apathy as NICE we have put in place measures that we feel can contribute to a peaceful elections,” he added.
Mwalubunju called for a concerted effort from all stakeholders involved in the electoral process so as to contribute to a free and fair elections.
“You may be aware that this role cannot be played by a single handled institution because these violence takes various forms and some acts are criminal in nature,” he said.
The Director encouraged Police to undertake maintenance of law and order without fear and favour as guided by the country’s constitution.
“We would also like to encourage the police to come out strongly because we have observed that some political parties have their own security mechanisms and there are some elements in those mechanisms that perpetrate violence,” he said.
Mwalubunju said Police should focus on some of the sources where violence are coming from and take drastic measures if in doing that they are abusing the laws of the country .
He appealed to all Presidential candidates to preach peace and condemn acts of violence in their campaign rallies once the official campaign period is open to their supporters that they should conduct themselves in a peaceful manner and hold accountable some of their supporters who are involved in perpetrating violence
The Director disclosed that NICE has also put in place platforms where candidates and voters can interact through the candidate’s debates in all the 193 constituencies and 462 wards with the idea to facilitate candidates to share their manifesto so that voters can vote wisely.