Youth and Society to implement IFES project to thwart politically inspired violence

Rumphi, The Mzuzu based Youth and Society organization (YAS) says it will implement a two-month International Foundation for Electoral System (IFES) sponsored project in Rumphi.

YASI project coordinator, Madalitso Magelegele said in an interview with Malawi News Agency (MANA) Thursday that the project would be effective before and after elections.

He said the initiative has been undertaken by the organization as a step towards prevention of political violence which may erupt during the electoral process.

He observed that during election period the most vulnerable people and victims of politically motivated violence are women and children but youths are mostly used as perpetrators of the malpractice.

We have had occurrences of political violence during the election period and after. So the first strategy has been to take the preventive measure. We will engage youth dialogue forums that are mostly used as tools to perpetrate violence.

They will be tipped to refrain from being used as political violence tools. We also have the community dialogue meetings where community members should come together and discuss local approaches for them not to engage themselves in political violence, said Magelegele.

Magelegele said the project will also work with multiparty liaison committees which consist of various stakeholders among them police and traditional leaders.

We have involved religious and traditional leaders and other stakeholders because they are in better position to convince the community of a peaceful election, he said.

Rumphi Residents Association, executive director, Walita Moir welcomed the development as a step in the right direction.

He described the proposed project as timely intervention because the district experienced political violence before.

He said at one-point people suspected to be supporters of the then ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) were attacked.

Violence erupted here during post elections period of 1999 and one person actually died in Mhuju. Some people were even attacked based on their religious beliefs.

During that time anyone from the Muslim religion was attacked because they were regarded as supporters of UDF, he said.

Source: MANA Online