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Registrar given 7 days to register UTM

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By Serah Makondetsa:

The Registrar of Political Parties has been given seven days to register a grouping led by the country’s Vice-President Saulos Chilima, United Transformation Movement (UTM), as a political party.

High Court Judge John Chirwa delivered his ruling after hearing submissions from lawyers representing both the movement and the State about two weeks ago.

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In his ruling, Chirwa said the registrar erred to refuse the movement to register basing his decision on public domain and not what was presented to him by the movement.

The registrar argued that the movement opted to register using its abbreviation of UTM instead of its full name.

A private lawyer who was representing Chilima and UTM in the case Michael Goba Chipeta told Malawi News that, indeed, the registrar had erred in his arguments.

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“You know we are a nation of traditions. One of the fundamentals of traditions is adherence to the rule of law. The court has ordered that the registrar was not justified in refusing to register the party for whatever reasons that he gave.

“The court has said the registrar was wrong in not just considering the documents that were given before him and proceeding to get information in the public domain. The court has also faulted the registrar for failing to give UTM a chance to be heard on the decision that he made,” he said.

In September, Deputy Registrar of Political Parties Chikumbutso Namelo wrote UTM following an application for the registration claiming the movement’s use of the abbreviation instead of a full name was a deliberate move to confuse the registrar arguing there was another party with a similar name.

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