By Kenneth Chizotera, MEC Stringer
The National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Trust has said it will use its maximum opportunity to the dissemination of voter and civic education across Likoma and Chizumulu Islands through the parliamentary and councillorship public debates organized for the district as they will provide huge platforms for the electorates’ patronage.
NICE Trust’s civic education officer on Likoma, Patrick Jonathan Chikoti said this on Friday April 12, saying that apart from creating a platform for the aspirants to sell their manifestos, the organization will also be disseminating electoral based information to safeguard free and fair tripartite elections.
“We will take an advantage to intensify voter civic education to the Islanders through these debates, which are still scheduled to take place in the near future as we draw closer to elections as it will attract many people.”
Chikoti then disclosed that the public debates have also been organized to harness all political affiliations by allowing them to come together and unite with the intentions of bringing up ideas that would be ideal for developing Malawi.
“It is the responsibility of every Malawian of goodwill, who loves this country to exercise their democratic rights to maintain peace and order throughout the entire debates and avoid any violent acts which would jeopardize the elections,” he said.
Taking his part, the chairperson for the debate’s organizing committee, Shamuda Drake said the team is working tirelessly to make sure that everything goes according to plan.
“Preparations are underway and we are engaging every stakeholders into this initiative, we have scheduled four debates for shadow councilors and later shadow MPs on both Chizumulu and Likoma Islands respectively, which will start on 24 April then 26 April and 3 May before closing on 10 May 2019,” Drake said.
He then pointed out that they currently have logistical issues because they do not have enough finances to support the activity as Likoma and Chizumulu are separated such that every activity requires money for food and accommodation, transport and other miscellaneous costs to make the debates effective.
“Although we already engaged other partners to support this, no one has responded but we hope they will because we still have some few days to come and anyone finding it wealthy to have these debates effective and achieved and willing to support the door is open for the noble cause,” he said.
The public debates are expected to have candidates from DPP, PP, UTM, UDF, MCP and Independents and shall attract other stakeholders such as Public Affairs Committee (PAC), traditional leaders and the media.