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EU says Civic Education Crucial for 2014 Elections

Malawi’s 2014 tripartite elections will have massive challenges and risk not being free and fair if there will be no proper civic education, the European Union has warned.

EU Ambassador and Head of Delegation to Malawi, Alexander Baum said this on Tuesday after meeting communities in Ntcheu and Dedza districts.

The people in the two districts want EU to speed up civic education through the National Initiative for Civic Education-NICE - which they said is better placed to carry out the job if it is not politicized.

“The 2014 tripartite elections ( presidential, parliamentary and local government) will no doubt confuse many people especially rural Malawians if there are more delays to embark on civic education as this will lead to more null and void votes,” said Mr. Baum.

Government spokesperson Mrs. Patricia Kaliati pushed the blame on EU as the one delaying the revamping of NICE normal activities due to delayed funding.

However Mr. Baum assured that funds are available and hope that government will consider speeding up the process so that NICE starts offering civic education in time.

Responding to the appointment of NICE board which forced the EU to withhold funds on allegations that it was political, Mrs. Kaliati said nobody including the EU has the mandate to question presidential appointments.

She however concurred with Mr. Baum that there is a need to embark on civic education early if the 2014 elections are to be free and fair.

NICE stopped normal operations in December 2010 when it became a trust under the ministry of information and civic education, thereby appointing a board of trustees who were questionable by the European Union.  - Zodiak Online

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