Political Parties Registrar sitting on registration
Just fancy this! Political parties in the country, none of them yet certified by the Registrar of Political Parties under the new Political Parties Act, continue to be on a free range as the Registrar is seemingly coy over releasing the results of their applications.
The Office of the Registrar of Political Parties is yet to certify and make public names of political parties who registered, in accordance with the Political Parties Act, three months after the set deadline for the registration.
It appears the parties are even getting away with it, evidenced by their recent participation in the by elections, though their legality is yet to be decided.
Malawi News has established that no political party has received feedback from the office after attempting to register when calls were made and even an extension on the deadline was granted.
Early this year, political parties were given six months to comply with the provision of the Political Parties Act or be deregistered.
However, in June, the period was extended to July 16, 2021 following a plea for more time from other political parties.
Responding to our questionnaire via Whatsapp on Monday, Registrar of Political Parties Chikumbutso Namelo only said they have not completed giving feedback to the parties.
“We have not completed giving feedback to political parties. We will issue a press release once we have completed the process,” he said.
However, a source who opted for anonymity, said it appears the office has no will to work on this particular issue for political reasons.
“The Registrar is scared for some reason on matters that have political connotations. Seeing as his office does other things as well, he [the Registrar] feels at home to do other tasks in his office as opposed to the political issues. In fact, the political parties are concerned with the pace which it has taken because about 13 of them tried to register.
“It appears that the office has no capacity or the will to see to it that the matter is sorted. Because I do not understand what kind of scrutiny the office of the Registrar could be doing, months after the dateline passed,” the source said.
Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) Executive Director Kizito Tenthani said he is aware that political parties want to write and meet with the Registrar to follow up on the matter.
“The parties are anxiously waiting and they might decide to engage him so that they know the status of their parties,” he said.
According to our findings, as it stands, all 62 political parties exist based on the previous law. Once the Registrar certifies those that registered under the revised one, those that did not register will be deregistered.
Efforts to hear from some of the political parties who tried to register proved futile as they could not give us tangible information on the matter.
UTM’s Patricia Kaliati, who is the Secretary General, refused to comment.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Secretary General Eisenhower Mkaka could not be reached on his mobile phone for a comment.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary General Patricia Kaliati said she cannot comment on issues regarding the party.
“Talk to Honorable Dausi, maybe he can talk to you,” she 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.