National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) has decried the prevailing absence of communication between elected officials and rights holders, saying this is robbing the country of its social and economic development opportunities.
NDI deputy country director Viwemi Chavula said this in an interview in Lilongwe on Wednesday on the sidelines of the launch of the Malawi Enhancing the Prospects for Peaceful, Accountable, and Credible Electoral Processes project.
The project is funded by the Department for International Development (DfID).
Chavula noted that although democracy requires active participation of the citizens in decision-making processes, elected officials have since the return of democracy tended to avoid people on critical issues, including development programmes.
“Studies by various organisations we support show that it is difficult for citizens to demand answers from their elected officials on various issues. This is because elected officials do not communicate, let alone give space to the electorate to actively participate in the social and economic development activities in their respective areas,” he said.
However, Chavula sounded optimistic that things will soon change following a number of initiatives his organisation is undertaking to entrench democracy and good governance in the country.
Executive director for Tiphedzane Community Support Organisation (Ticoso), which receives funding from NDI, Mike Dansa, said his organisation was trying hard to bridge the electorate and the office bearers with the view of providing a platform for them to discuss issues. n