The United States (US) Ambassador to Malawi David Young has called for democratisation of political parties.
He said when parties embrace democratic ideals, they become more inclusive, responsive and accountable to the needs of citizens, traits he described as key to sustainable socio-economic development.
He said this in Lilongwe Wednesday, when he opened a two-day conference on building effective political parties.
International Republican Institute (IRI) has organised the activity.
“Political parties and party leaders that are more democratic in their outlook and conduct are more likely to respect the rule of law, reject political violence and work within democratic institutions to advance their policy priorities,” Young said.
He said mature democracies make stronger allies, good trade partners and bring greater stability into the international arena.
Young also said institutionalised multi-party systems have shown to be more resilient to democratic backsliding and are less subject to the erosion of fundamental freedoms.
However, the US envoy challenged political parties in Malawi to join the fight against corruption if the desire to strengthen democracy in the country is to be achieved.
On his part, IRI Programme Director for Southern Africa, who attended the IRI All-Party Conference, Kimberly Smiddy, said Malawi is a shining example of a flourishing democracy in the world.
“But we must ask ourselves: How effectively are political parties representing ordinary Malawians? Do parties offer policy solutions to the current problems Malawi is facing? Are parties in Malawi playing their important role as the cornerstone of a well-functioning democracy? What kind of parties appeal to voters and win elections?” Smiddy said
IRI is implementing a regional party programme in four countries in Southern Africa, namely Angola, Mozambique, Zambia and, in 2022, it incorporated Malawi in the regional programme.