Civic Education and National Unity Minister Timothy Mtambo Tuesday said work on Malawi Peace and Unity Bill has been finalised and it awaits vetting from Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs officials.
Mtambo told Parliament that the bill would facilitate the establishment of a commission tasked to ensure unity and peace prevalence in Malawi.
“This will also be a vehicle for dealing with past atrocities. We cannot say we are united as a country, or we are moving forward, if we do not deal with our history. We are going to give the mandate to this institution to help us deal with outstanding past wounds that Malawians have,” he said.
He said the ministry had already piloted district committees, which will be established in all districts across the country once the institution is put in place.
In his report, Mtambo further said, as a way of strengthening citizen-government engagement, a platform called ‘Pa Bwalo’ had been established to promote peace, deepen public trust in public institutions and improve public service delivery, among other things.
A heated debate, however, ensued when members of Parliament (MP) were given a chance to deliberate on the report, with many from the opposition benches attacking his character based on his past role as leader of public demonstrations under Human Rights Defenders Coalition.
Thyolo Central legislator Ben Phiri alleged that Mtambo was a reflection of anarchy, citing the setting ablaze of offices during demonstrations.
In his response, the minister said he only provided leadership during the demonstrations to demand justice through a constitutional process that was peaceful.
“Let us not personalise matters of national unity. We are setting up the commission to correct past [oversights] because these institutions were not there before,” he said.
The Ministry of Civic Education and National Unity was set aside in July 2020 through the President’s proclamation and is mandated to create an enabling environment for civic empowerment of citizens and promote sustainable peace and unity.