The Pan African Civic Educators Network (Pacenet) has urged Malawians to take a leading role in defining and implementing the development agenda of their respective communities.
In an interview this week, Pacenet board chairperson, Anthony Kasunda, challenged that Malawi cannot register meaningful socio-economic and political transformation if citizens assume a spectator’s role in developments in their areas.
Kasunda noted that Malawi has remained poor because rights holders have for the past 51 years chosen to let politicians define their future ‘in every sector of life’.
He said in a quest to empower citizens to be able to demand their right to development, Pacenet is implementing a two-year Zotheka project to address low levels of citizen participation in the planning, implementation and monitoring of local development projects in Chiradzulu, Luchenza, Machinga and Thyolo.
He said Tilitonse Fund is financing the project whose aim is to strengthen the capacity of local governance structures to enable them perform their duties effectively.
“Pacenet realises that Malawi cannot achieve meaningful socio-economic and political transformation where citizens do not take a leading role in defining and implementing their development agenda.
“For this to be achieved, we need democratic governance to take centre stage from the local level because local communities are engines of development at local level,” said Kasunda.
Chairperson for ADC in Chiradzulu, George Chakwiya, said the project has helped them acquire skills in formulating development projects and lobbying for finances for their implementation.