By Jordan Simeon-Phiri, MEC Stringer.
As Karonga district is grappling with the reality of effects of post elections violence that led to the torching of government offices in the district, Karonga District Peace Committee (DCP) has revealed plans to hold a joint symbolic peace match with traditional leaders on Friday next week to preach ceasefire ahead of the fresh Presidential elections billed on June 23.
The DCP chairperson Reverend Patricia Mzumara made these revelations on Thursday during a peace stakeholders meeting held at Baka secondary school.
The match comes barely one year after waves of destructive post-election demonstrations people used to remove police and Malawi Revenue (MRA) roadblocks, loot, vandalize and torch public property in the district.
Said Mzumara: We realize how volatile Karonga is. And based on experience from the past botched 2019 Tripartite Elections, we have decided to carry out several activities to drive the peace message home to avoid a repeat of last years ugly scenes.
“We lost valuable property and various businesses were disrupted thereby affecting families socio-economic income hence these interventions that people should behave before, during and after elections.
Mzumara noted that the engagement of chiefs and politicians will help to magnify the message since they stay close with the grassroots.
In an interview, Karonga District Commissioner Paul Kalilombe who by default is the districts elections coordinator and is the greatest victim of the May 2019 post elections after angry protestors twice torched his offices and documents, welcomed the decision, saying it has come at the right time when the country is about to go to fresh Presidential Polls.
“Karonga has of late become a hotspot for political violence. So, this type of engagement is crucial to tame the vise and promote the use dialogue in resolving issues, Kalilombe said.
Paramount Chief Kyungu of Chitipa and Karonga described the initiative as a time changer, saying the responsibility to bring about peace in the two districts lies in the hands of every person.
My plea is peace to all citizenry of Chitipa and Karonga. Let us all observe law and order, peace and calm to preserve our dignity. Let us say no to any violent and barbaric acts and promote love and unity of purpose, Kyungu said.