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OPC demands openness on political party funding

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By Wezzie Gausi:

The Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) has urged political parties in the country to be open on how they raise funds for operations.

Speaking at a validation meeting on the National Action Plan (Nap) for Open Government Partnership (OGP), Deputy Secretary to the President and Cabinet Janet Banda said lack of openness on political financing is the root cause of corruption in the country.

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OGP is a multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from national and sub-national governments to promote open government, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.

Banda said, as the government has taken concrete steps towards implementing most of its commitments under the Summit for Democracy (S4D), it wants the country’s political parties to follow suit.

The S4D is a virtual summit hosted by the United States to renew democracy at home and confront autocracies abroad. The three themes under S4D are defending against authoritarianism, addressing and fighting corruption and advancing respect for human rights.

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“We will be engaging with the Registrar of Political Parties to make sure that the laws governing political parties are followed, especially on the issue of finances,” Banda said.

Council for Non- Governmental Organisations in Malawi Executive Director Ronald Mtonga said, with the new Nap of 2023-24, political leaders have to embrace accountability.

Mtonga said, for the country to achieve its long-term aspirations, as outlined in Malawi 2063 vision, there is a need to ensure that political parties are not left behind.

“With the directive to have OGP, civil society is ready to be part of the process of making Malawi a better place. But, in doing that, we want our political parties to be open enough on their finances.

“This will include details of where they get their funds and how the money is spent,” Mtonga said.

Political analyst George Phiri wondered what business OPC has with political party issues.

“I am surprised that OPC is taking part in issues to do with political party funding. If anything, it is the Registrar of Political Parties that has to be regulating issues of political parties and not OPC,” Phiri said.

On July 25 2022, during the National Anti- Corruption Conference in Blantyre, President Lazarus Chakwera expressed strong commitment to the OGP and undertook to ensure that Malawi regains its active status in the OGP by the end of 2022.

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