Lilongwe: A network of stakeholders met in Lilongwe on Tuesday for a National Peace Conference to discuss mechanisms for promoting peace in the country ahead of the 2019 tripartite polls.
The conference, organized by Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), was held under the theme, ‘Peaceful coexistence for sustainable development.’
Speaking when he officially opened the conference, Chief Secretary to the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), Loyd Muhara said government is deeply concerned with continued use of hate speeches especially among politicians.
Muhara said it is worrisome that the nation is experiencing spates of violence which are politically motivated due to use of foul language during campaign rallies.
This conference has been conducted at the right time as the country is going towards elections. This is the time we need to preserve peace, Muhara said.
It is worrisome that our country, which has been largely peaceful, is now passing through some conflicts which are unnecessary and avoidable.
Government is alarmed with these increasing cases of violence which destroy the peace our country has been enjoying and which our neighbours have been envying, he added.
He said all stakeholders need to seriously reflect on peace building, saying peace is a human right enshrined in various international human right instruments to which Malawi is a signatory, and in the Republican Constitution.
Muhara said conflicts are deplorable as people who fall victim are usually the vulnerable, including children, women, the elderly and people living with disabilities.
He said government is committed to the promotion of peace as demonstrated by various efforts including the rolling out of Peace Architecture Initiative through which peace committees are going to be established at district and community levels to resolve all forms of conflicts.
Structures that will be promoting peace at all levels of society are already being put in place. We have formed District Peace Committees (DPC) and plans are underway to form similar committees at community level, he said.
Executive Secretary for MHRC, David Nungu said the conference was conducted to provide a forum for stakeholders to reflect on various forms of violence that have been occurring recently across the country.
He said the stakeholders would also identify causes and suggest mechanisms that should be put in place to prevent further cases of violence, especially in the run up to next year’s polls.
The conference attracted political party representatives, the clergy, traditional leaders, civil society organisations (CSOs), the police and the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA