MALAWI-BASED African Union (AU) regional delegate for Southern Africa Development Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa has said dialogue is a better way of building peace in any community.
The delegate, Auguste Ngomo, said no country can achieve peaceful existence using war. He was speaking in Lilongwe on Thursday during an interaction on responsibilities in building peaceful communities through dialogue, mutual understanding and respect.
“Mutual respect and dialogue are important attributes in building peaceful communities and need to be encouraged. The African Union knows that Malawi is a peaceful country but we need to encourage people to do more discussion on various misunderstandings and issues affecting them. Dialogue doesn’t make sense if you don’t discuss,” Ngomo said.
Ramazan Saban, executive director for Golden Mile Dialogue Society, which organised the interaction, said a community where people have respect for each other and engage in constructive dialogue is likely to achieve peaceful co-existence.
“We need to educate our communities to ensure that they value dialogue in their discussions with fellow community members if we are to promote peace in our respective communities,” Saban said.
Senior police officers who were part of the interaction said the Malawi Police Service (MPS) values dialogue and it is for that reason that it has different departments that give community members opportunities of presenting their grievances to police formations.
They mentioned victims support units, aimed at protecting the family, community policing structures, which provide channels for police and community dialogue, professional standard units which aim at protecting society from officers’ unprofessional behaviours and lay visitors scheme which presents an opportunity for communities to censor the police.
National police spokesperson, James Kadadzera, said the interaction has helped the MPS with more knowledge on how to build peace in communities.
“The knowledge gained will improve our way of dealing with communities in our efforts to create safer communities,” Kadadzera said.
In Malawi, misunderstanding and absence of dialogue have led to behaviours such as burning of police infrastructure, strikes and high reports of vandalism in schools, mob justice due to loss of trust in the justice system and fights among rival political parties or factions.
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