Party financing case commences in March
In the case, Malawi Law Society has been demanding information on records of sources of financing for political parties
The High Court in Blantyre has set March 6, 2023 as the day to commence hearing of the case between Malawi Law Society (MLS) and the Registrar of Companies.
In the case, MLS has taken to task the Registrar of Companies, in his capacity as Registrar of Political Parties, for failing to provide records of political financing, in line with Political Parties Act of 2018.
Judge Mike Tembo set the date yesterday.
According to MLS president Patrick Mpaka, judge Tembo has given a calendar of steps that need to be taken to lead to full hearing.
“Today we were getting the calendar of steps that need to be taken to lead to the full hearing of the case; so today the judge has given directions that within 21 days everyone must file all the documents that need to be filed and within seven days we must file legal arguments in support of the case that we are putting across and the full hearing of the case will be on March 6, 2023 at the High Court,” he said.
Mpaka said the Political Parties Act of 2018 basically promotes access to information and as such Malawians have to be able to utilise it.
He said MLS had requested information from the Registrar of Political Parties on compliance of parties with the Act.
“MLS as a watchdog wanted to see how compliant the political parties have been with the law that is set out in the act,” he said.
MLS twice wrote the Registrar, on July 20, 2021 and September 30, 2021 asking for information on political party funding which he has not given to date.
In this regard, MLS filed for judicial review where, among others, the lawyers body wants the court to declare that the Registrar of Political Parties is bound to follow Section 37 of the Constitution and Section 36 of the Political Parties Act and that in accordance with the law, a public officer in the position of Registrar of Political Parties is expected to deliver feedback to an applicant for information under the Political Parties Act within 15 days without undue delay.
In its grounds for seeking the reliefs above, MLS indicates that transparency and accountability, even on political party financing, is the foundation of every democratic administration.
“Under Section 12 (1) (c) of the Constitution, the authority to exercise powers of the state is conditional upon the sustained trust of the people of Malawi and that trust can only be maintained through open, accountable, and transparent government and informed democratic choice,” read the grounds.