Eleven non-parliamentary political parties have petitioned the Registrar of Political Parties to extend the deadline for compliance to the new Political Parties Act 2018.
In their petition, dated May 18 2021, the parties want the registrar to accord them an extension of at least three months from the set deadline of June 30 2021.
The petition was signed by secretaries general of People’s Progressive Movement (PPM), Mbakuwaku Movement for Development (MMD), Malawi Forum for Unity and Development (Mafunde), Umodzi Party (UP), Democratic People’s Congress (Depeco) and New Labour Party (NLP).
Others are United Transformation Party (UTP), New Republican Party (NRP), National Unity Party (NUP), Congress for National Unity (CNU) while National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) president Loveness Gondwe signed on behalf of her party.
PPM secretary general Wellington Chatepa confirmed in an interview yesterday the petition followed meetings the parties have had since April.
“We were given one year to reregister, but there have been several challenges along the way and yet the deadline remains unchanged. So, we are waiting from the Registrar of Political Parties; otherwise, we are afraid most parties may not make it,” he said.
In their petition, the parties claim the anticipated commencement was delayed by almost six months by the registrar’s office due to alleged administrative and logistical challenges.
“Within the remaining six months when the exercise commenced, the Covid-19 pandemic rose to its peak. As you are aware, this development prompted government to suspend all activities that involved mass physical interaction, thereby impeding progress on the exercise even further.
“It is, therefore, not feasible for the political parties to complete the exercise within the remaining period. It is our hope the above cited reasons will suffice for your office to consider our humble request positively for the upholding of democratic values in the multiparty Malawi,” reads the petition.
It comes after the Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) expressed fears, as the deadline for re-registration is fast approaching, that some political parties may not comply with the new Act.
Among others, the new Act which came into force in December 2018 requires each political party to solicit 100 signatures in each district and pay K1 million as registration fee, failing which, a party risks deregistration.