The Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) says it has finalised work on a Political Parties Bill which, if adopted by Parliament, is expected to empower the ‘independent’ Registrar of Political Parties to deregister ineffective political parties.
The bill seeks to repeal the current law and replace it with a new one which at the moment requires 100 signatures from an unspecified area.
Speaking to journalists in Blantyre yesterday, CMD executive director Kizito Tenthani said it is a worrisome development that to date some parties exist, but are not effective because the owners died or the party has lost touch with the grass roots.
CMD said it has discovered that out of the 54 registered political parties, 23 collected forms while 17 presented such documents to the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to contest in the May 20 Tripartite Elections, meaning other political groupings just exist on paper.
Said Tenthani: “We want to introduce stringent laws that will balance the situation for supporters to own the party. The other thing is that the Registrar of Political Parties should be independent of the State. His or her appointment should be through the Public Appointments Committee of Parliament as is the case with other positions.”
The bill also proposes measures that will allow political parties to have the same play field of electoral campaign, to declare their sources of funding and declare assets before they are registered as opposed to the current situation.
Tenthani said once the bill comes into law, all political parties will be given one month to declare assets before being registered.