Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) has commended the Ministry of Civic Education and National Unity for making significant strides in establishing the National Unity and Peace Commission.
ECM Head of Communications Commission Bishop Montfort Stima expressed optimism that the commission would play a pivotal role in promoting peace and unity among Malawians in spite of their diversity in political, regional, ethnic and religious affiliation.
Stima raised the sentiments soon after hosting Civic Education and National Unity Minister Timothy Mtambo at his residence in Mangochi on Saturday.
Apparently, the bishop was interested in knowing how far the ministry has gone with paperwork on the creation of the commission, whose mandate will be to promote the sustenance of peace and unity among Malawians.
Recently, quasi-religious grouping Public Affairs Committee asked the government to ensure that there was support and political will if the proposed National Peace Commission Bill were to be effective in promoting peace in the country.
Stima said, during discussions with Mtambo on Saturday, it was evident that the ministry had made progress, in terms of preparatory work, before taking the Bill to Parliament.
“The creation of this is not just coming out of the blues. The ministry had to move around and see what Malawians were lacking. There have been consultations. So, the idea to come up with this body is not borne out of nothing. I am very positive about this and we will support any effort the government will take to see this commission established,” he said.
Stima said it was important that Malawians should have common values, adding that the commission would be better placed to advance that cause.
He pledged the Catholic Church’s support for efforts aimed at bringing peace to the country.
“For us, the support is there. If we are consulted, we are ready to provide support. We feel the commission will also play a crucial role in addressing issues such as moral decay,” the bishop added.
Mtambo said he was excited with the level of commitment and interest in the commission from the church.
He said the commission would be key in pushing for transformative national values as well as building a disciplined and responsible society.
“I am very excited that the Catholic bishops have pledged to support us, knowing that they have a wider voice across the country. But we appeal for more collaboration from other stakeholders,” he said.
Stima and Mtambo also took time to discuss matters of national interest. These include the proposal to have a Day of National Unity and Cultural Heritage in building social cohesion as well as the need to reintroduce civics subject in schools.
Stima felt the reintroduction of civics in schools would empower citizens with knowledge on their roles and responsibilities from a tender age.