Vice-President Saulos Chilima says the pace at which Malawi is fostering peace since the change of government from Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to the Tonse Alliance administration manifests progress so far made.
Speaking during the 2021 International Day of Peace commemorations at Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe yesterday, the Vice-President said peace is “a mother of progress on which every nation moves forward”.
He mentioned the establishment of the standalone Ministry of Civic Education and National Unity, the draft Malawi Peace and Unity Bill which the ministry has developed and President Lazarus Chakwera’s constant appeal for peace and dialogue when there is misunderstanding as some of the steps taken.
The draft Peace and Unity Bill came at the time the 2019 institutionalised sustainable peace efforts through a National Peace Architecture failed to unite a polarised political, tribal and religious society that continued to resort to violence to solve conflicts.
Chilima said: “I am certain that many of us know the definition of peace. But I can also challenge that very few people actually understand what peace means.
“For me, peace is the mother of progress. Without peace, a nation cannot make progress. And at the same time, the progress of any nation is derived from its happy and peaceful citizens.”
He said the International Day of Peace celebrated yesterday was a reminder that principles of national peace and unity are matters of consensus and are above party political interests.
“This day denotes that peace does not only mean the absence of direct violence which results in hurting people or loss of life and damaging property, but also the absence of indirect or structural violence,” said Chilima.
United Nations resident coordinator Maria Jose Torres agreed with Chilima on the positive progress the country has registered towards promoting peace and unity among its citizens.
She said: “Malawi emerges as one good example of a resilient society capable of absorbing shocks and steering forward against standoffs as evidenced by the peaceful resolution of differences around the last presidential elections.”
However, Torres said the country still faces sad realities every time a life is lost or suffers because of conflict, violence, abuse, poverty, disasters, or disease.
On his part, Minister of Civic education and National Unity Timothy Mtambo said his ministry will fast-track the enactment of the Malawi Peace and Unity Bill into law by taking it to Parliament in the forthcoming November sitting.
“This Bill is very important because it contains all mechanisms of ensuring that there is peace and harmony in the country.
“ It has well – laid- out procedures that can help the country to be proactive on conflict resolution thereby avoiding damage, injuries and loss of life,” he said.
During the event, Chilima and Mtambo released white doves into the sky to signify the presence of peace and unity in the country.
The 2021 International Day of Peace is globally held under Recovering Better for an Equitable and Sustainable World, but in Malawi the theme was modified to Recovering Better for an Equitable, Peaceful and Sustainable Malawi.