Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has urged presidential candidates to sign a peace accord that will enable dialogue and mediation on possible conflicts during the 2019 elections.
During a meeting held with Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) in Lilongwe last week, PAC chairperson the Reverend Felix Chingota said the move is one of the activities the quasi-religious body will engage in prior to the elections.
Commenting on the issue, PAC publicity secretary Father Peter Mulomole said in an interview on Tuesday the body previously engaged political parties in 2014 to sign the peace accord and some did not.
He said: “We prepared the document in 2014, bearing in mind that not all parties could be winners. We want this to be done again next year.”
Mulomole said the 2019 Peace Accord document is not yet prepared but he was optimistic that it will compel leaders to abide by the election result announcement procedures, thereby minimising conflicts between contesting parties.
Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) chairperson Kandi Padambo hailed the initiative as a tool for curbing post-election violence, but said he foresaw challenges in convincing political parties to embrace it.
“As CMD, our mission is to contribute towards the consolidation of democracy in the country,” he said.
In a telephone interview, Catholic University of Malawi political analyst Nandini Patel observed that introducing a peace accord for mediation is a good idea.
But she proposed that it is also important for electoral stakeholders to look into existing conflict handling strategies instead of bringing in new ones.
She referred her proposal to the National Peace Architecture instrument which the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) developed in conjunction with the Office of the President and Cabinet following the July 20 2011 demonstrations. n