CMD persuades Malawi MPs to pass Political Parties Bill

The Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) has lobbied members of Parliament   pass the Political Parties Bill during its current meeting, saying the organisation strongly believes the legislation  is set to transform the country’s political landscape.

Kizito Tenthani, CMD boss: We ARE optimistic the House will pass the Bill.

CMD is a platform for dialogue on political parties in Malawi which sets out to contribute towards consolidation of multiparty democracy by striving for the development of a well functioning muilti party political parties in Malawi.

The executive director  of CMD, Kizito Tenthani, said the bill is very crucial because it will help political parties in Malawi to fully contribute towards consolidation of democracy in Malawi.

He told journalists that after a wide consultation process with government and the opposition in Parliament, they are optimistic the House will pass the Bill.

“Over the years CMD consulted all sectors of the Malawi society and through this consultations, it identified areas that needed to be addressed by a more comprehensive piece of law,”  said Tenthani.

Tenthani said CMD set up technical working group comprising representative from the Law Commission, Ministry of Justice, Malawi Law Society, office of the registrar of political parties, and the University of Malawi Law Falculty.

The Political Parties Bill, if passed into law, will replace the current Political Parties (Registration and Regulation) Act and address the challenges being faced when regulating the registration, financing and functioning of political parties in Malawi.

In June, MPs welcomed the Bill, especially on the issue of regulating handouts from candidates contesting in an election to the electorate.

Spokespersons of all parties represented in the House have assured that they will back the bill.

Political Parties Bill seeks to repeal the Political Parties (Registration and Regulation) Act (Cap. 2:07) (the “Act”), and replace it with a new law which will address the challenges being faced when regulating the registration, financing and functioning of political parties.

The Bill is divided into eight Parts.

Part I makes provision for preliminary matters, such as short title, commencement, and interpretation of certain words and terms used in the Bill while Part II outlines general principles upon which the establishment and operation of political parties in Malawi shall be founded.

Part III establishes the office of the Registrar of Political Parties (the “Registrar”), which shall be a public office. The Part also makes provision for the appointment of the Registrar and other officers in the Office of the Registrar, and for the independence of the Registrar when exercising his powers, functions and duties under the Act, as well as the tenure of office of the Registrar.

The bill also according to Part IV deals with registration of political parties, and contains provisions

relating to, among others, grounds for which the Registrar may refuse to register a political party. The Part also contains provisions for deregistration of a political party, as well as review, by the High Court, of the deregistration of a political party.

Part V makes provision for financing of political parties. The Part contains provisions relating to entitlement to State funding by political parties, uses of State funding, suspension of State funding, refunds by political parties which cease to qualify for State funding, closure of books and records of account upon dissolution  of Parliament.

The Bill also provides for, among others, private funding and receipt of donations by political parties, the requirement to open a separate bank account for private funding, registration and declaration of assets, and members’ access to financial records of their political party.

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