Leaders and youths pledge and vow peace

Sep 21, 2013

Youths captured during a Peace Match that was held in Blantyre as part of the commemoration of the International Peace Day in Malawi on 21 September. Photo: UNDP Malawi.

Leaders and youths have pledged to observe and safeguard peace in the country in the run up to the 2014 tripartite elections. The leaders and youths were drawn from Government, political parties, religious institutions, youth organisations, schools, vendors associations, youth wings of political parties and institutions working on elections, made the pledge during a Youth Peace Solidarity March and Rally organised to mark the commemoration of the International Day of Peace  (21 September) held at Blantyre Youth Centre.  Political parties and their youth wings that signed a Peace Pledge as commitment to peace included the People’s Party (PP), United Democratic Front (UDF), Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), People’s Transformation Party (Petra) and the New Labour Party (NLP).

For the first time, Malawians and development partners, led by the youths, commemorated the International Day of Peace under the collective theme of “We Are All One: Youth for Peaceful 2014 Elections” and was graced by the former Vice President, Rt. Honourable Dr. Justin Malewezi as Guest of Honour who also joined the peace march from the Clock Tower all the way to the Blantyre Youth Centre.

Activities marking the peace day focused on the role of the youth in peace building and conflict management considering that the youth have capabilities for both peace and violence. It was observed that the youth are the majority of those involved in and manipulated for violence and that political violence is the most common which usually revolves around elections.

Various speakers at the peace rally called for peace among different stakeholders and emphasised the fact that “We are all one” despite having different cultural, tribal, political, religious and racial backgrounds. Speaking at the Rally, Dr. Malewezi observed that youth have largely been used as agents of violence and that it is time to engage them as agents of peace in order to consolidate the young democracy and that the “Youths must be ambassadors of Peace in their communities”. He added that “we must not deny youth the peace they are demanding”.

Speaking earlier, the UN Assistant Administrator and Director of Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, Mr. Jordan Ryan commended the youth for taking up the challenge to contribute to globe peace. He observed that youth are a great treasure in peace building the world over and that United Nations will support all efforts that contribute to peace in Malawi.

Delivering the message of peace and commitment, Commissioner Emeritus Archbishop Most Reverend Dr. Bernard Malango who was also the Witness for the Peace Pledge signing ceremony on behalf of the Malawi Electoral Commission, welcomed the youth initiative for peace and retaliated MEC commitment to peaceful elections in 2014. He called on all stakeholders including the political players to observe peace and support the call by youth for peaceful elections.

According to the youth who took a leading role in the peace commemoration, the Peace March and Rally marked a beginning of an intensive campaign against violence during elections and other forms of violence. As a younger generation, they indicated their commitment to peace and nation building emphasising the need to be united amidst diverse affiliations.

Other key stakeholders who signed the peace pledge included the United Nations, Ministry of Youth and Sports, National Youth Council of Malawi (NYCOM), Youth Consultative Forum (YCF), Young Politician Union (YPU) National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE), Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM), Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), Malawi Electoral Support Network (MESN), Institute for Policy Interaction (IPI) and NAMISA.

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