Govt appeals against UTM registration

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Government through the Attorney General and the Registrar of Political Parties has appealed against the registration of Vice President Saulos Chilima’s UTM.

Attorney General (AG) Charles Mhango who is also Democratic Progressive Party Director of Legal Affairs has today filed an application at the Supreme Court of Appeal.

On 2nd November, the High Court ruled that the Registrar should register the movement within seven days.

Ministry of Agriculture

Attorney General Mhango: filed the application

This followed an application by UTM over the Registrar’s decision to snub the movement on the basis that it used the abbreviation UTM and not the full name United Transformation Movement.

In the notice of appeal which lists Chilima as respondent,  the applicants say  High Court judge John Chirwa erred by ruling that Chilima should have been heard before the registrar decided not to register UTM.

According to the applicants, Chilima was not being accused of wrongdoing and the law only required the Registrar to inform in writing the party affected by the decision.

They further argue that Chirwa failed to interpret section 7 of the Political Parties Registration and Regulation Act by adopting a restrictive approach.

“Consequently, the learned judge misdirected himself at law and fact in finding that the respondent (Registrar), in exercising his statutory duties, should have restricted himself to what was presented to him and pay a blind eye to what is in the public domain,” reads part the of the application.

The AG and the Registrar want the Supreme Court to overturn the High Court ruling and declare that by communicating its decision to Chilima, the Registrar’s office followed the rules of natural justice.

They further want a finding that the restriction to register UTM as a political party passes the limitation test under Section 44 of the Constitution.

The applicants also want: “A finding that the Registrar of Political Parties was justified in considering what is constantly in the political domain in execution of his statutory duties and therefore his decision cannot be faulted,” reads part of the notice of appeal.

The application will be heard on 13th November when a sworn statement of Senior State Advocate Neverson Chisiza will also be heard.

 

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