The Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) says it is confident Parliament will pass the Political Parties Bill during its current meeting, a development that is set to transform the country’s political landscape.
Briefing journalists in Lilongwe on Monday, CMD executive director Kizito Tenthani said after a wide consultation process with government and the opposition in Parliament, they are optimistic the House will pass the Bill.
He said: “We have every reason, therefore, to believe that our members of Parliament [MPs] will see to it that they pass this Bill which has the potential of transforming the way we do our politics.”
The Political Parties Bill was gazetted in 2016 as a government Bill, but was tabled in Parliament in June this year.
Tabling the Bill, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu observed that the proposed law was an expression of the wishes and aspirations of the various political parties and other players on the country’s political scene.
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.
Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee chairperson Maxwell Thyolera said in an interview a report on recommendations on the Political Parties Bill by his committee is scheduled to be presented in Parliament today.
Among others, Article 41 (1) of the proposed 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.
After a heated debate on handouts when it was tabled in Parliament last June, Tembenu asked the Deputy Speaker of Parliament to have the Bill referred to the Legal Affairs Committee to clarify on the definition of handouts.