National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Public Trust has warned that the rising cases of violence can easily “throw this country into an abyss of chaos.’
The institution’s national programmes manager Gray Kalindakafe also urged for a need to sober up as a nation ahead of what he called a historical period Malawi is undergoing.
He was referring to the current court case in which the Constitutional Court sitting in Lilongwe is slated to give its verdict on the case in which Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM leaderships challenged the May 21 presidential vote.
“Yes, it worries us. I mean, there is just too much lawlessness going on around. Since the May 21 polls, a day rarely goes without reports of violence somewhere. We can’t continue like this as a country. We surely need to put a cap to this madness otherwise; we will live to regret our actions soon,” he said.
Kalindakafe was speaking on Wednesday in Blantyre during a day-long technical workshop on alternative resolutions which NICE organised with support from the European Union (EU).
His sentiments come just a day after three police officers were injured in anti-Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) protests in Karonga that also saw four roadblocks demolished.
He added: “There is no justification whatsoever to being violent against each other. Not even in the name of exercising one’s rights.
“As an institution, we are reminding all stakeholders that as we are living in a multiparty dispensation, living in harmony is key. For once, can we think of Malawi as a nation and not necessarily of our parties, religions and tribes of affiliation.”
At the same meeting, Blantyre City Council deputy mayor Joseph Makwinja agreed on the need for concerted efforts in fostering peace ahead of the court’s judgement expected early next year.
“Much as leaders hold the key to peace as they tend to manipulate the masses, I feel communities in general have a role to play too. In this case, peace must be demand-driven. It is a shared responsibility,” he said.
One of the participants to the conference Anita Kaliu called the sessions timely.
Kaliu, who is also district education manager for Blantyre urban, said such meetings can help sensitise the masses on the fine line that lie between rights and responsibilities among students.
She said: “We are also concerned about the disruptions the student protests continue to bring to the school calendar. It’s a pity that some feel it is their right. This is why we feel we need to educate the masses. Much as the violence cannot be condoned, we feel that to some extent, the students are just mirroring the situations back home. Peace is indeed a collective responsibility.”
NICE argues the messages for peace should be treated as an emergency as various sections of the society at large may react differently to the pronounced judgement from the court.
The trust has been engaging various stakeholders on the importance of fostering peace within their respective ranks for a better Malawi. The exercise, which will see similar workshops in all districts, started in the north through the central region and is now concentrating in the south.