Minister of National Unity Timothy Pagonachi Mtambo and senior officials from the National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) are in Uganda to learn how that government is running its governance structures and institutions.
It is reported that Uganda has strong and effective decentralisation systems that are benefitting many citizens in this country.
Speaking in Uganda on Tuesday, Mtambo said the Malawi Government has been hearing "so many good stories about the governance structures and institutions and it has been our dream and aspiration to visit this country and learn from the success stories that we have heard over the years."
"We have heard about a strong and effective decentralisation systems that are benefitting many citizens in this country. Hence, as outlined in our communication requesting for this learning tour that has now materialised, we had indicated that our cardinal interest is in the institutions that are shaping the governance landscape in Uganda," he said.
The minister stated that as another fast-growing democracy on the African continent, Malawi needs to open up to the opportunities that are available within the Eastern and Southern Africa region and Uganda offers some light in this regard through its robust training institutions that are moulding leaders and citizens to face the reality with proper information, knowledge and skills that have the potential to turn any nation into a political, moral and economic paradise.
Mtambo cited institutions such as the National Leadership Institute at Kyankwanzi, the Philosophy Department at Makerere University and Mindset Change Front Initiative Uganda, which are the focus of the tour.
He expressed confidence that lessons to be learnt shall help Malawi to cement its dreams of having a governance institute that will offer tailor made courses to help shape the nation's destiny.
"The Ministry of National Unity that I head is a new ministry that was created in 2020 by the Tonse Alliance administration to spearhead creation of an empowered, informed, patriotic and united Malawi citizenry. The Ministry is a policyholder and coordinator of civic education that intends to lay a formidable foundation for civic engagement and enhancement of national unity as a way of promoting mind-set change for transformative development.
"Among other things, the Ministry also provides a platform for interface between citizens and government and acts as a channel for promoting and protecting the rights of citizens as well as promoting understanding of state and citizen responsibilities in the pursuit of national development," he said.
The minister further stated that his ministry is also putting in place some mechanisms to facilitate the implementation of measures that promote peaceful coexistence as well as a culture of unity of purpose for pursuit of common national development objectives among Malawians through the National Peace Commission.
Additionally, the ministry is taking a lead to ensure that as a nation, Malawi is able to reflect on its past and identify issues that have been dividing the citizens and identify solutions to unify Malawians so that they strive for broad based national development and prosperity.
"As part of achievements, the Ministry has initiated the peace and unity bill which has been passed by the national assembly. A national civic education policy was launched in October 2020 and a government, citizen engagement platform and district peace committees have been established to foster unity and peace in communities.
"All these have been milestones for the ministry. A recent study conducted by a renowned research institute in Malawi found that currently there is no institution that offers capacity building of professionals on democratic governance and human rights. All the institutions that participated in this study however, have elements of democratic governance embedded in their generic training programmes.
"Nevertheless, this is not enough to build the capacity for professionals in order to ably promote democratic governance and human rights among our citizenry especially when we consider Malawi's public sector reforms that are currently on the table.
"At the end of it all, our aim is to generate ideas to help us establish a governance institute as part of the National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Trust that has been responsible for the provision of civic education on governance issues for over two decades now. The mentioned study is one of the preparatory undertakings for the establishment of this institute.
"The study ascertained that governance knowledge and skills gaps existed in both state and non-state actors. The study also revealed that there is a market potential if NICE were to run some of the programs commercially for its sustainability," said Mtambo.