Amid raging debate on party funding as corruption enabler, registrar of political parties Chikumbutso Namelo says lack of institutional capacity to implement the Political Parties Act is affecting enforcement of the law.
His written response to The Nation yesterday comes a day after President Lazarus Chakwera in his address on a report she received from director general of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), pledged support to the registrar to investigate alleged political donations.
He said his office is still engaging political parties to comply with the Political Parties Act, including the requirement to declare their assets and donations.
He said: “The Act provides for the establishment of the office of the registrar of political parties. The registrar general is registrar of political parties only in an interim capacity until that office is established.”
Namelo said as a result, the Department of the Registrar General lacks the capacity and resources to implement and enforce the Act.
Chakwera made the sentiments against a background of the ACB findings that 14 ledger books from corruption suspect Zuneth Sattar’s associate contains donations to politicians and political parties in Malawi.
He said political party funding was an enabler of corruption in the country.
During a two-day Dynamic Leaders and Gatekeepers Forum in Lilongwe last month, ACB director general Martha Chizuma said Malawi’s political party funding system has given rise to ‘advance capture’ of the parties.
In a telephone interview yesterday, political commentator Humphrey Mvula said while the office of the registrar of political parties needs adequate resources, Chakwera as also leader of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) was supposed to lead by example.
“As you have observed, in his capacity as MCP president, he was supposed to be in the lead in declaring the party’s source of funding,” he said.
But governance commentator Makhumbo Munthali said people should not expect much from the President’s sentiments.
He said this is not the first time for Chakwera to make such remarks.
According to Munthali, what has been missing is the matching of the President’s rhetoric with action.
UTM Party spokesperson Frank Mwenifumbo said the matter is being handled by the party’s secretary general Patricia Kaliati who could not be reached.
Democratic Progressive Party administrative secretary Francis Mphepo could also not be reached just like United Democratic Front spokesperson Yusuf Mwawa.
MCP spokesperson the Reverend Maurice Munthali asked for a questionnaire and subsequently asked for more time before responding.
Last month, the Malawi Law Society dragged the registrar of political parties to court for failing to provide the society with information on political party funding as it requested.