The High Court in Blantyre has officially registered as a political party UTM (United Transformation Movement).
The Office of the Registrar of Political Parties had rejected Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima’s UTM because he opted to register with abbreviation instead of the full name of the movement.
Deputy registrar of political parties Chikumbutso Namelo said Chilima had deliberately opted for the abbreviation instead of the full name to mislead the registrar as the applicants were aware of another registered political party with a similar sounding name.
Chilima, through lawyer Michael Goba Chipeta, Chilima and UTM appealed against the registrar’s decision, arguing that the registrar made a decision based on information that Chilima and his colleagues had not submitted.
“The respondent erred in law and fact in deciding whether to register UTM or not by taking into account matters and evidence that was not presented before him by either UTM or any of its officials and hereby acted as prosecutor, witness and a judge in the same case,” Chipeta had argued.
Chilima also argued that it was unfortunate that the registrar decided to interpret UTM as meaning United Transformation Movement when there was no such evidence before him and that the law does not require the registrar to look for the meaning of the name that he thinks of.
But presiding over the case, Judge John Chirwa ruled in favour UTM claiming the decision to reject the movment was undemocratic.
The Judge then ordered Registrar of Political Parties to duly register UTM as a political party within seven days from September 21 2018. The ruling implies that UTM is officially registered and recognised as political party.
There was no immediate information on whether the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties will appeal against the High Court ruling.