Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has set May 4 for presidential candidates in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections to attend national prayers and sign a peace declaration at Bingu International Convention Centre (Bicc) in Lilongwe.
In an interview yesterday, PAC executive director Robert Phiri said the quasi-religious body is currently engaging presidential candidates individually. He said so far, four have confirmed their availability.
He said: “We already engaged President Peter Mutharika last
December on the same and he confirmed his availability. We also met Atupele Muluzi of the United Democratic Front [UDF] and Peter Dominic Kuwani of Mbakuwaku Movement for Development [MMD].
“We are yet to meet other candidates, including John Chisi of Umodzi Party and thereafter Malawi Congress Party [MCP] president Lazarus Chakwera on Monday April 15.”
The signing of peace declaration serves as a goodwill document for dialogue, mediation and political settlement should things go wrong after voting.
The declaration, among others, seeks to engage the presidential candidates in the election to commit to a peaceful democratic elections and a political process that serves the national good.
PAC is engaging the country’s political leadership and key political players regularly on party manifestos and conflict resolution for implementation to ensure good governance reforms and practices are institutionalised in the newly elected government in 2019.
In a related development, Presidential Prayer Breakfast moderator Apostle Madalitso Mbewe says four presidential candidates have confirmed their attendance to the event scheduled for the first week of May at one of the State Houses.
The prayers have been organised by a group of local churches, including the Pentecostal Revival Crusades (PRC) Ministries, Calvary Family Church (CFC), Agape Life Church, Charismatic Redeemed Ministries International (CRMI), Assemblies of God and Living Waters Church. The concept of Presidential Prayer Breakfast was hatched in the run up to the 1999 General Elections.
After being conducted in three consecutive elections, the prayers were not held in 2014 due to lack of funding, according to Mbewe.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Mbewe said Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the country’s Vice-President and UTM Party president Saulos Chilima, Chakwera of MCP and UDF’s Muluzi have all confirmed their availability.
He said the venue of the prayers this year would be provided by government to enhance security at the event.
Mbewe said four other candidates, Chisi, Tikonze People’s Movement (TPM)’s Cassim Chilumpha, Kuwani and independent Reverend Kaliya were yet to confirm their participation.
According to Mbewe, the prayer breakfast is aimed at providing an atmosphere where the candidates will eat together, pray and have time to talk to each other in a peaceful environment.
He said former presidents Joyce Banda and Bakili Muluzi as well as former vice-president Justin Malewezi have been invited to the event.
Apart from the peace declarations, PAC also plans to set up a six member mediation team to be at hand to resolve election relates stalemates as well as a mobile phone violence reporting app.
Failure by political parties to promote peace during elections has resulted in bloodshed in countries such as Zimbabwe, Kenya and Gambia just to mention but a few.