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Honeymoon over for political parties

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Ernest Thindwa

Time for political parties to comply with the Political Parties Act and reregister is over and, according to the Registrar of Political Parties, the process of scrutinising applications starts immediately.

Caretaker Registrar of Political Parties Chikumbutso Namelo Thursday said his office has, however, extended the date to July 16 2021 to parties that asked for an extension of time.

Eleven non-parliamentary political parties were the ones who, on May 18 2021, petitioned the Registrar of Political Parties to extend the time during which political parties would comply with provisions of the Political Parties Act 2018.

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The parties are People’s Progressive Movement, Mbakuwaku Movement for Development, Malawi Forum for Unity and Development, Umodzi Party (UP), Democratic People’s Congress and New Labour Party.

Others are United Transformation Party, New Republican Party, National Unity Party, Congress for National Unity and National Rainbow Coalition.

Namelo could not indicate the date parties which fail to comply with the tenets of the law would face the chop, saying the exercise is a process.

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“Now that the deadline has arrived, we will take stock of parties who have complied and those that have not. Only then shall we take the necessary action.

“So, this is going to be a process. Now that they have submitted their applications, we are going to examine them and communicate with the concerned parties and those that will be issued with registration certificates,” he said.

Namelo said the point of the exercise was not to deregister any party but to ensure that political parties comply with the requirements of the law.

UP secretary general Thomas Kaumba said they were given up to July 16 2021 to do the needful, describing it as ample time to complete all processes.

Political commentator Ernest Thindwa said politicians would back laws that are in their favour.

“It is not surprising that the political parties asked for more time. Political parties have challenges in sticking to the law.

“However, the Political Parties Act is one good piece of legislation,” he said.

With the Act, which came into force in 2018, political parties are supposed to declare their source of income, submit financial reports, disclose names of their donors and pay K1 million as registration fee.

Malawi has about 62 political parties.

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