United Transformation Movement is now officially the UTM, the party’s leader Saulos Chilima announced Friday evening.
Following a court victory over registration, Chilima told patrons at a resource mobilisation dinner and dance at Comesa Hall in Blantyre to forget and bury the name United Transformation Movement.
A jubilant Chilima made the declaration hours after the High Court in Blantyre, ordered registrar of Political Parties to register UTM within seven days.
“Today, we bid farewell to the United Transformation Movement, because from henceforth, we are the UTM. So, as you go conducting rallies and attracting new members, ask them to join the UTM, that’s the name of the party.
“It is not up to some character to decide what name we should bear, we decide ourselves what name we have, and we decided UTM,” he said.
The UTM leader, who is the country’s Vice-President, declared that the UTM, as was presented at the registrar of Political Parties for registration, was on a journey and would not stop until victory is delivered.
Chilima, who broke ranks with the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to form the UTM, warned his followers that they would face turbulence, but asked them to be prepared and be assured of successful landing, come the polls.
“You don’t owe anybody an apology for winning a case, as a matter of fact, we celebrate. We have zero-apology to make for winning the case, just like we will have zero-apology for winning an election next year. It will be victory after victory,” he challenged.
Chilima urged his officials and supporters not to be swayed or intimidated by propaganda, adding that some people were sending messages to his team of a possible appeal against the judgement.
Said Chilima: “If they do, we are going to meet there. No amount of cheap propaganda is going to intimidate us, or sway some of us. Do not be intimidated, we fought for this democracy; we fought to be free, if they decide to appeal, we will fight them there. Don’t waste time with trivia or garbage.”
He said Malawians fought for democratic rule in 1992, and went for the referendum in 1993, before the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) was kicked out in the first general elections in 1994.
High Court judge John Chirwa while ordering the registrar of Political Parties to register the UTM within seven days, said the registration should be backdated to September 21 2018.
The registrar of Political Parties had argued that the UTM did not present itself as United Transformation Party, but as the UTM in the application, yet in the public domain, it was known by its full name.
The judge faulted the registrar’s decision, describing it as ‘unreasonable and unjustifiable’. He also faulted the registrar for not exercising rule of natural justice to hear the UTM.
Meanwhile, the UTM took its court victory celebration to Nkhotakota yesterday, where Chilima addressed a rally at the Boma.
Among other issues, he urged the people to keep safe their registration certificates so that they can vote next year.