The National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust has embarked on a nationwide campaign to sensitise Malawians to the social, economic and trade opportunities accruing from Malawi’s membership with the Southern African Development Community (Sadc).
Nice district civic education officer (DCEO) for Mwanza Paul Kanyenda observed in an interview Thursday that there is negative perception among Malawians towards the Sadc, which he says is denying the country of its opportunities to build and capitalise on its membership with the regional bloc.
Kanyenda recently conducted a series of sensitisation campaigns in the district, including in Group Village Head Wingolo in the area of traditional authority (T/A) Kanduku.
Said the DCEO: “Sadc is looked at as the club of presidents. As such, much has not trickled down to the communities. Hence building awareness to the general public on Sadc issues will help Malawians to start thinking on critical issues that are affecting their daily lives that are of concern within the country and other Sadc member states.”
Kanyenda also disclosed that since majority of Malawians do not understand what is being discussed at the Sadc summits, it was proving difficult for the locals to make follow-ups on various protocols and treaties leaders sign and ratify after attending the summits.
He said the campaign seeks to sensitise Malawians so that they are able to know that Sadc is also involved in fostering peace and security in the region; hence, it is their duties and responsibilities to ensure this peace and security is achieved.
“It’s quite sad that although we are involved in fostering peace and security in the region, Malawians living in the border areas with other countries complain of the ill-treatment.
“We feel this is the case because Malawians are not aware of the protocols signed and ratified in order to demand for its proper implementation including this on politics, defense and security
cooperation,” explained Kanyenda.
Recently, the Young Politicians Union (YPU) national director Clement Makuwa asked government to conduct needs assessment survey targeting youth in agri-business and their level of participation in regional and international trade blocs such as Sadc.
Makuwa observed that there are so many trade and employment opportunities that Malawians are failing to tap because of the existing information gap.