Malawi Parliament passes Political Parties Bill: Law prohibits handouts to entice voters

Malawi Parliament has passed the Political Parties Bill that probihit giving handouts to lure voters duing elections, a development that is set to transform the country’s political landscape.

Tembenu: Bill approved

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu said the Political Parties Bill would usher in a new era in political party management and banning handouts was one way of levelling the playing field.

He said an issue-based campaign would attract more Malawians especially the youth to take an interest in politics.

The Political Parties Bill 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.

Among others, Article 41 (1) of the new law provides that a candidate or political party contesting in an election shall not issue handouts and failure to adhere to that one commits an offence which attracts a fine of K10 million or five years imprisonment.

The new law also gives powers to Registrar of Political Parties  to deregister political parties that do not win in elections or hold conventions, impose fines on people that belong to more than one political party and also impose fines on political parties that do not declare donations..

The  law also calls for political parties to inform the registrar whenever there is a change involving amendment to a political party constitution or manifesto.

However, the it says  that the Auditor General audits the financial records of any political party that receives State funds, saying that when Parliament dissolves, political parties should close the party’s books and records of account.

“Subject to the Public Audit Act and the Public Finance Management Act, the minister responsible for finance may issue written instructions for the better control and efficient management of funds provided to political parties under this Act,” reads the Bill.

Chancellor College political scientist Boniface Dulani has said the new law will bring about order in what was otherwise a barely regulated political arena.

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Nambewe
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Nambewe

BINGO! its about time! Lets get proper politics starting in our country! This is a country in intensive care generally speaking and sort out bills like this are a very welcome development!

Gogodasi
Guest

DPP supported the bill after a bad experience in the run-up to the recent by-elections when Ngwenya and Ganda made lots of handouts that yielded nothing for them while Mia made positive inroads with cash donations to schools. Believe you me, if DPP had won the by-elections it was going to strongly oppose the bill the way they are doing it with the reforms bill. When DPP loses the 2019 election it is when it will see some sense in the electoral reform.

Nambewe
Guest
Nambewe

a Gogodasi does it nor satisfy you that DPP have supported the bill full stop??? whats wrong with you people? Do you not want to move forward ever?

Toka
Guest
Toka

Good work. Do the same with reforms bill dpp thugs are afraid of.

Nambewe
Guest
Nambewe

Echo!!!

ANALYST
Guest
ANALYST

Good Bill (Law) – but the question, as always in Malawi is, “Will it be enforced???”

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