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Lazarus Chakwera hopes for better 2021

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Patricia Kaliati

President Lazarus Chakwera has expressed hope that 2021 will bring sustainable socio-economic development to Malawians.

But, in his New Year’s address last evening, Chakwera warned that success would not come on a silver platter as the citizenry would have to toil for it.

He said, while 2020 left Malawians and the world at large with a feeling of vulnerability due to, among other factors, the Covid 19 pandemic, humanity had to potential to rise from the ashes of disappointment with a great triumph.

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“But if we are going to have better fortunes in 2021, we must reject this attitude of sitting idle in helpless surrender,” Chakwera said.

He urged Malawians to be united and focused in facing challenges head on.

“So, indeed, we will be witnessing a new way of doing things, and it is expected that political parties will become more institutionalised and more relevant in our political life as they strive to play the role expected of political parties,” Tenthani said.

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While commending the government for efforts made to bring about the Act, Tenthani said the real challenge would be enforcement of provisions of the Act.

“This is perhaps the most challenging part which can best be done by a dedicated office as provided for in the Political Parties Act. The government has to establish the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties and appoint the Registrar, who should be full time— dedicated to overseeing implementation of [provisions of] the Act. If you consider the requirements of this office, it requires dedicated personnel to ensure compliance,” he said.

Commenting on the Development, UDF secretary general Kandi Padambo said the regulations would bring sanity to the political parties’ scene.

“We, at UDF, as a member of CMD, own the Act and we welcome the coming in of the regulations because we think the Act will bring sanity in how parties are run in the country.

“In fact, all this time, we have been going to the office of the Registrar to ask for forms and, all the time, we have been told to wait. Now that we have the regulations, we are very ready [to collect the forms],” he said.

MCP spokesperson Maurice Munthali said the regulations were long overdue.

“Political parties have to be guided and, in the context of Malawi, it is political parties that form the government. So, they ought to be governed. So, we welcome the guidelines that the ministry has given us. Malawi Congress Party is not just ready to comply with the regulations and provisions of the Act; we are a party that will always comply with the law,” Munthali said.

MCP counterparts in the Tonse Alliance, UTM, through secretary general Patricia Kaliati, said they had been looking forward to having the regulations in place so that they could comply with its provisions.

“We will comply with the law,” Kaliati said.

Ironically, and despite the Ministry of Justice’s proposal that offices for the Registrar of Political Parties be established, there is no allocation for the same in the 2020/21 national budget. The office of the Registrar General received an allocation of about K889 million in the current financial year.

Earlier, Justice Ministry spokesperson Pilirani Masanjala said it was not up to the office of the Registrar to force parties to do what the law says but that it was the people that had to do what the law stipulates.

After the Act was operationalised, some of its provisions stipulated that political parties that were registered before enactment of the Political Parties Act had to be re-registered. The parties were given one year, spanning from November 2018 to November 2019, to play game.

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