By Sylvester Chibwana
Minister of National Unity, Timothy Mtambo, has appealed for a quick introduction of compulsory teaching of national values from nursery to university education.
Mtambo disclosed that his Ministry has reached an advanced stage of consulting with the Ministry of Education and other important stakeholders in education and civic space to include teaching of national values. He was speaking this to the press over the weekend.
The Minister further defined national unity on shared values as a state of combined efforts as a whole in order to achieve the best possible socio-economic status for every member of the society. “When a people are united in value s, it becomes easier to achieve anything they could ever imagine as a nation. Our being disunited on shared values of patriotism, integrity, transparency and accountability and others is the very reason we have remained one of the poorest and most corrupt nation on the globe,” bemoaned Mtambo.
Mtambo added that Malawi as a country suffers from moral decay as reflected in the level of corruption and poor delivery of services in the public and private sectors. He further challenged that Malawi needs to embrace respect of shared values through law such as on expectations of integrity, patriotism, hard-work, transparency and accountability as one way of national identity and unity in order to foster sustainable development.
“Other countries like America are well known for patriotism, respect for rule of law, human rights, hard work and love for humanity. What are we known with as a nation? Certainly there are a lot of good values we embrace together but they are not written as law anywhere,” challenged Mtambo.
Mtambo further challenged that it is high time Malawi as a nation developed a strong base of a set of values that are law and unique to the nation. My Ministry is currently consulting and drafting transformative values that will be passed into law; otherwise everyone embraces whatever they wish as values. He said this is a very important stage in the growth of our democracy and for the sustenance of unity and peace. “It also demonstrates patriotism and unity of purpose among a people. In countries like Singapore, Switzerland, China, you just can’t steal or litter around; that’s how strong their value system is,”said Mtambo.
He therefore challenged curriculum developers, civic players, CSOs and education stakeholders across the country to develop sustainable methodologies on how to impart the right knowledge of national values among the citizenry. “Civic educators, religious and cultural heritage foundations, and teachers in schools are agents of change in the society. It is my sincere hope that, they will not let us down but take this crucial role,” said Mtambo.
The minister also reminded the country that issues of national values, peace and unity are not new in the country, though some unpatriotic Malawians are spreading unfounded allegations that the national unity ministry is irrelevant.
“As a sovereign state, we are reminded that it is not this Tonse Alliance government that is first to talk of the need for national values. From time in memorial the Government emblems and national anthem have ‘unity’ as one of the pillars,” said Mtambo.
The Unity and Civic Education Minister further alluded to the fact that the Malawi Congress Party has had its four pillars of unity, loyalty, obedience and discipline. The United Democratic Front preached courage and ‘bravery.’ The Democratic Progressive Party called for prevalence of ‘justice, unity and hard work.’ The Peoples Party championed the need for a ‘morally-upright nation.’ Now the Tonse Alliance calls for wealth creation and prospering together as embedded in the Mw2063.
Mtambo said from these crucial examples, one is able to trace the need for agreed and shared national values that are enacted into law, we can’t keep trying and changing the values whenever we change Government or ruling political parties.
“Let government change but the national values must remain the same,” challenged Mtambo.