The umbrella body for all evangelical churches and para church organisations in the country,the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) has warned that unless political candidates and all stakeholders for the May 21st Tripartite Elections show commitment to uphold peace throughout the electoral period, violence shall not be ruled out.
EAM advocacy and elections officer Matchona Phiri made the warning over the weekend during a peace building interface meeting in Chikwawa the organisation held for electoral stakeholders to sign a peace commitment policy promising to keep peace no matter the outcome of the election.
The meeting came in the background of Chikwawa being one of the districts where political violence have already been reported few days before the country goes to the polls.
However, stakeholders who attended the meeting who were mainly political parties’ aspirants (both parliamentary and ward councillor), law enforcers, Church leaders and traditional leaders queried the organisation if the meeting was to achieve its purpose considering that there are just few days before the voting day.
However, Phiri said with few days before the actual voting, it’s necessary for all stakeholders to commit themselves that they shall maintain peace during the voting day up until the results shall be announced.
“We have to accept that as we get closer to the actual poling day, tempers are likely to flare up hence our coming to remind the stakeholders the importance of maintaining peace during the poling day up until the results shall be announced”, said Phiri.
Phiri said if stakeholders are not careful in the remaining days, the likelihood of political violence is high hence they should take it upon themselves to maintain peace.
During the meeting the officer in charge for Chikwawa Police, assistant commissioner Davie Chingwalu said peace has now returned in the district after political violence which occurred at Sangwe trading center in Chikwawa South Constituency where supporters of the ruling DPP and MCP engaged in a heavy fight.
He said following the violence, the police arrested over ten master minders whom he said are now out on police bail but he couldn’t disclose their names .
Chingwalu added that the law enforcers in Chikwawa have tightened security to maintain peace during the voting day.
EAM is implementing a faith led electoral governance support project with funding from Danish Church Aid (DCA) to the tune of 20 million kwacha which has a component of enhancing peace during the elections among others. The evangelical body also intends to deploy it’s elections observers during the poling day.