By Daniel Namwini, MANA
Minister of Information, Civic Education and Communication Technology, Mark Botomani has said some citizens exercise their rights irresponsibility without regard to the rights of fellow citizens in the country.
He made the remarks on Friday during a day-long orientation meeting of District Information Officers (DIOs) and District Community Development Officers (DCDOs) from Central Region in civic education provision at Sunbird Lilongwe Hotel.
“Since 27 years when the country switched from a single party to multiparty system of government, there is still lack of understanding of democratic principles and values among most Malawians,” Botomani observed.
He added that a 2018 Governance Survey Report by the National Statistical Office (NSO) found that 77.6 percent of Malawians are aware of their human rights but only 20.4 percent are able to seek redress when their rights are abused while 21.5 percent do nothing.
The Minister pointed out that these statistics show that the majority of Malawians lack in-depth knowledge of human rights and democracy.
“This is sad because an understanding of democratic principles and values are critical as it enables citizens to exercise their rights with a great sense of responsibility,” he said.
Botomani added that the statistics entail that civic education should go beyond informing and creating awareness.
“We should provide civic education that imparts in-depth knowledge, and that creates deep understanding of democratic values including catalyst for positive behaviour and mindset change,” he said.
Dedza District Community Development Officer, Maria Gama said lack of knowledge among most citizens stems from poor coordination in the delivery of civic education and multiplicity of actors who are not qualified civic educators among others.
She added that duplication of efforts in the delivery of civic education and selective civic education content and misinformation due to inconsistent messages.
“The result of all these is poor quality of civic education mainly because most civic educators use ineffective civic education delivery approaches besides being not well trained,” Gama said.