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Ntam hails Mec

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By Sam Banda Jnr:

Pace Theatre

National Theatre Association of Malawi (Ntam) has hailed Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) for utilising artists in this year’s electoral process, which has seen 100 drama groups holding performances across the country sensitising people to, among others, the importance of voting.

Ntam president Eric Mabedi, who is better known as Jakobo in the theatrical circles, said this on Saturday at Chigumukire Primary School in Chileka, Blantyre, where he monitored one of the performances.

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Mabedi said this was the first time for him to watch a performance since they started working with Mec as he had been ill.

“It has been a success process and for Mec to involve us in everything indicates that they value arts and that it is crucial when it comes to dissemination of information. Special thanks goes to Sam Alfandika, Commissioner Moffat Banda, Henry Potani and Lydia Luwanika for believing in the arts,” Mabedi said.

He said the process started with registration where 180 drama groups were engaged across the country.

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“Registration was very good and so Mec decided to use us in the other processes. Actually this is the first time for Mec to use groups in polling to sensitise people to issues related to voting since there were a lot of challenges,” the veteran actor said.

Mabedi, however, bemoaned discipline among artists, saying some groups misbehaved hence, failing, to participate in all the processes.

“Discipline is very important but some did not do well; hence, the number of drama groups had to be trimmed to 100 from 180,” he said.

Mabedi, said they also changed the format where drama groups were not restricted to perform in their own regions as has been the case in the past.

“As Ntam, we did not want restrictions because we are all one hence having groups from the north perform in the South and those from the South in the North,” he said.

Gibson Chisale, director of Pace Theatre from Mzuzu, starred at Chigumukire, where they were exceptional.

“We are performing in the south because arts can be done anywhere and the issue is about disseminating key information. Art works because you have instant feedback and we normally engage the audience throughout,” Chisale said.

Group Village Head Solomon, from the area of Senior Chief Kuntaja in Blantyre West, said, through the performance, they learnt a lot in terms of voting.

“Artists entertain us and at the same time disseminate messages; so, it was good for Malawi Electoral Commission to utilise them in the electoral process.”

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