Alliance for Democracy (Aford) president Enock Chihana has asked the National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust to lead a federalism sensitisation campaign and debates to bridge the information gap on the issue.
Chihana said this on Saturday during the launch of Nice’s Programmes Estimate II in Rumphi.
The programme, which will see Nice sensitising people to demand development and other governance issues as well as holding leaders accountable, will cost the Trust K1.8 billion.
Chihana, who is also member of Parliament for Rumphi Central Constituency, said civic education is a core responsibility of Nice; hence, it will be within its mandate to sensitise people on federalism.
He said currently there is information gap as people do not know what federalism is all about and a number of them are also being misinformed to understand federalism as tribal divisions or the beginning of anarchy.
Said Chihana: “Chiefs and people are eager to know what actually federalism is. They have to know its strengths and weaknesses. They also have to know the strengths and weaknesses of the current system, which has failed us.”
He also called on Nice to help clarify roles of MPs and councillors. He said currently there is strong conflict which, if not rectified, will see MPs performing duties of councillors.
Nice board member Susan Kaunda said Nice will have to sit down and come up with strategies on how it can reach people with federalism messages since federalism is an emerging governance issue.
Nice executive director Ollen Mwalubunju said his organisation is ready to sensitise people about federalism as it is a governance issue. He said federalism is about decentralisation and Nice will try to incorporate the matter in its programmes.
He said there is also need to engage government on the need to shed off the President’s excessive powers and empower local structures to ensure that development is community driven.