President Arthur Peter Mutharika Wednesday led Malawians in commemorating the International Day of Peace and the launch of the National Peace policy at the Bingu International Convention Center (BICC) in Lilongwe.
Commemorated under the theme ‘Together for peace; respect, safety and dignity for all’ the day highlighted the need to embrace diversity a pre-requisite for promoting peace, create space for launching, disseminating and publicizing the National Peace Policy and to showcase Malawi’s rich cultural diversity.
Delivering his speech before the launch, President Mutharika said the two events demonstrate that government and the people of Malawi value peace.
He said the rest of the world commemorated the day on 21st September but it was symbolic for Malawi that it must also launch the National Peace Policy on the same day.
“We value peace and that is why Malawi has been at peace for all these years. It is symbolic that we launch the National Peace Policy on this day,” said Mutharika.
Mutharika said it was important to celebrate peace because nothing works where there is no peace. He said it was important that everyone cherishes peace as it comes next to life itself.
“No wonder after completing his mission on earth, the immediate gift Jesus Christ left to humanity was peace.
“Peace is the normal condition of human existence. Peace is the environment for human happiness. Peace is the next best gift we can give to one another therefore as human family we all have the responsibility to ensure that everyone around us is at peace,” he said.
He made mention that peace should never be taken for granted as it does not come accidentally.
Mutharika said by unveiling the National Peace Policy, it meant satisfying the aspirations of Malawians who are peace loving people but also conforming to the various conventions, treaties, charters and protocols agreed upon at various regional, continental and global levels.
“Today, we are joining the rest of the world of peace lovers. The world knows that Malawi is an envoy of peace so let us be proud that we are ambassadors of peace and hence launching our policy at a timely moment when Africa is taking serious measures to safeguard peace,” said the first citizen.
He however, warned those that take peace for granted and are fond of provoking one another in the society, in politics and in the media.
Mutharika said: “We should never forget that we are a peace loving people. We should remember that the war in Ruanda started because of a radio station. As we say, it is a small matchstick that ignites a great forest. Let us all take the responsibility of safeguarding peace.”
He then thanked the UN Family for funding the National Peace Architecture processes since 2012 and invited other development partners and the private sector to join.
United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Resident Representative, Claire Medina thanked president Mutharika for his leadership in developing the policy which represents an important milestone in sustaining peace and unity in Malawi.
She said many countries have suffered civil war and conflict in the past fifty years but Malawi has not seen large –scale armed conflict on a comparable scale which is something to be proud of.
“Today’s Peace Policy represents Malawi’s choice. A choice to invest in peace rather than respond- too late- to violent conflict. Malawi can celebrate the fact that it is one of the only few countries worldwide that has proactively developed and approved a National Peace Policy.
Medina said this would help to reaffirm Malawi’s place in the world as an envoy of peace as it signals a commitment to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 16, which promotes peaceful and inclusive societies.
In his speech, Vice Chair for Civil Society Taskforce on National Peace Architecture, Ambassador Ron Nkomba (Retired) said the launch was critical regard as it is the culmination of the five years of work which partners that have been working together have been going through to establish the National Peace Architecture.
“We are excited that finally we have made it and we are here today launching the initiative that will help the country maintain peace and solve problems through mediation and dialogue,” said Nkomba.
He then asked President Mutharika to encourage the people in the country to respect the country’s national anthem but also develop a culture of singing along when it is time to sing it.
“Your Excellency, let me take this opportunity to ask you to encourage people in this country to sing the national anthem when it is played. This shows love and solidarity for our nation,” he said
Present at the function was Leader of Opposition, Dr Lazarus Chakwera, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and heads of Diplomatic Missions, Madam Thandiwe Dumbutchena, government officials, Chiefs and many more distinguished guests.