Malawi govt files notice of appeal against UTM registration: Judge ‘erred in law’

The Attorney General’s office has filed a notice of appeal with Supreme Court of Malawi to challenge registration of United Transformation Movement as the UTM party.

Chilima: We are going to meet there

High Court judge John Chirwa last Friday ordered registrar of Political Parties to register UTM within seven days and that the registration should be backdated to September 21 2018.

But Attorney General  through Neverson Chisiza, Senior State Advocate, in the notice of appeal seen by Nyasa Times argued that High Court judge “ erred in law and fact” by finding that UTM was not accorded an opportunity to be heard as if the party led by Vice-President Saulos Chilima was being accused of wrongdoing.

Attorney General cites Section 43 (b) of the Constitution of Malawi which simply requires that the party affected by the impugned decision by Registrar of Political Parries to be informed of the decision in writing with the reasons.

The State further accused the  Judge that he “ misdirected himself at law and fact “ in finding that the Registrar, in exercising his statutory duties, should have restricted himself to what was presented to him and pay a blind eye to what is in the public domain.

“The learned judge erred in law and fact in finding that the limitation or restriction to the Respondent’s Constitutional right did not pass the test obtaining under section 44 (1) of the Constitution when in fact it is clear that the said limitation is reasonable (avoidance of criminality), prescribed under the statute, recognized by international human rights standard and necessary in an open and democratic society,” reads the appeal arguments.

The registrar of Political Parties had argued that the UTM did not present itself as United Transformation Party, but as the UTM in the application, yet in the public domain, it was known by its full name.

The judge faulted the registrar’s decision, describing it as ‘unreasonable and unjustifiable’. He also faulted the registrar for not exercising rule of natural justice to hear the UTM.

Governance expert and commentator Makhumbo Munthali told Nyasa Times that from a pure constitutional perspective, the Registrar let alone the Attorney General have the constitutional right to appeal the ruling of High Court if they feel not satisfied.

“This is something you cannot take it from them. However, a quick political economy analysis of the appeal at hand seem to suggest that this might be the last attempt -at least for now- for the ruling party to further block the registration of UTM,” he said.

Munthali added: “This is politically significant to the DPP mindful of the delays that sometimes characterise the hearing of a case which would mean that even in the event that they (DPP masquerading as Registrar and Attorney General) are not successful in the appeal verdict they will have managed to plant seeds of suspense in UTM supporters of whether UTM would be registered or not. It is one of those delaying tactics aimed at frustrating UTM supporters further with the hope that some would jump the ship hence reducing its chances in an election.”

The UTM leader Saulos Chilima, who is the country’s Vice-President, declared that the UTM, warned his followers that they would face turbulence, but asked them to be prepared and be assured of successful landing, come the polls.

Chilima, who broke ranks with the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to form the UTM, said they will fight the appeal.

“Do not be intimidated, we fought for this democracy; we fought to be free, if they decide to appeal, we will fight them there. Don’t waste time with trivia or garbage,” said Chilima.

He said Malawians fought for democratic rule in 1992, and went for the referendum in 1993, before the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) was kicked out in the first general elections in 1994.

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Nzika ya Malawi
Guest
Nzika ya Malawi

Coming from QECH, patients are sleeping on the flooryet government is wasting money on useless things because of greed of wanting to hold on to power!

Ndikukodzela Kwambiri
Guest

Osangopita kukalembesa kuti United Transformation Movement (UTM) bwanji? Ngati zavuta change the wording and life goes on. Koma kumangolimbana zinthu za ziiii, ati kufuna kusagonja.

McD
Guest
McD

I’m not a supporter of DPP and I will never support UTM. The issue of registering UTM as a political party is a simple one. Everyone knows that UTM stands for United Transformation Movement, having said that, why is it becoming an issue to register UTM using its full name. The registrar of political parties was correct to reject the movement to register using abbreviations. The question remains, what is the meaning of UTM? This has nothing to do with DPP playing delaying tactics but it is a matter of doing the right thing. The movement should just swallow their… Read more »

mtete
Guest
mtete

Too many fortune hunters in our legal system. Why should our Attorney General Politician appeal something which is obvious. UTM will be registered, if not already.

Thinktankmalawi
Guest
Thinktankmalawi

Supreme court will side with high court
..UTM is here to stay..

James
Guest
James

This is very unfortunate. I don’t see any reason why Government should be wasting our tax money on such a trivial thing. Blocking someone to register a party is not our challenge in Malawi. What is going on shows that DPP is extremely afraid of UTM. Who told them kuti ngamuyaya? Is APM really a professor? His leadership is very questionable.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

Forget all these legal shenanigans. They serve only to make lawyers rich. From the democratic perspective, what we can see is a government that is trying to prevent a considerable number of our people from voting for a party for which they wish to vote. Such an attempt is clearly undemocratic. If we had a Parties’ Description Act similar to the Trades Description Act, we could require the Democratic Peoples Party to change its name to one that more closely describes its modus operandi: the Undemocratic Peoples Party (UDP).

Wm. Congreve
Guest
Wm. Congreve

I guess you mean UPP.

Nzika ya Malawi
Guest
Nzika ya Malawi

It’s a known fact that DPP iis afraid of UTM asakudziwa kuti ikangolembetsedwa UTM, DPP ili m’madzi!

Mkaika
Guest
Mkaika

Let me ask UTM diehards if I start a movement and I name it Asena Extremist Movement (AEM) or Muslims Brotherhood Front (MBF) can the political party registrar approve their registration as AEM Party or MBF Party knowing very well what those abbreviation stand for?

Asante Kissi
Guest

You don’t need to include the word party in the name of a political movement before it can be considered as a party… I agree political parties should register full names not abbreviations….. Political parties names n symbols are registered so it doesn’t clash with other political parties ..political parties with names without the word parties abounds across the continent… Its the aims n purpose of the organization that qualifies it as a political party or otherwise…..

Mulomwe
Guest
Mulomwe

It is a known fact that Peter Mutharikarim has given the DPP people including the so called attorney general money to block UTM. We know that very well. Mwapasana ndalama pakati panu a dPP. Ndalama za misonkho ya a Malawi. Mbuzi za DPP. We also know that DPP is stealing a lot of taxes by inflating bills. Anthu a DPP, you are hiring vehicles in the name of government. There is a certain car hire in Blantyre where all this is happening. DPP people are the most evil people in Malawi. DPP is sending inflated bills which are then being… Read more »

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