Rights group Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has given Malawi’s political party registrar seven day ultimatum to make public sources of funding for the country’s six major political parties.
Speaking to journalists in Blantyre, CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa, said the request has been made after observing that most political parties in Malawi dos not comply with section 31 of the Political Parties’ Act of 2018.
The act reads: “A political party shall at least once every year, make available to its members all financial records of the party.”
Namiwa said the act orders such declaration to be made in form of cash, assets and donations in kind received within and outside the country.
He added that it is surprising that declared by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP); the Malawi Congress Party (MCP); the United Democratic Front (UDF); the UTM party; the People’s Party (PP); and the Alliance for Democracy (AFFORD). has never done so.
He said this is happening due to lack of strict enforcement of the Political Parties’ Act where parties are ordered to declare to the registrar when a party receives a donation of at least K1,000,000 from an individual donor and of at least K2, 000,000 from an organisation.
Namiwa said members of the general public would want to know through the political party registrar how much did each of the six major parties get from which donor.
According to Namiwa, the registrar risks being dragged to court if such information is not made public.
“CDEDI has since requested the registrar who is the custodian of such information to make public the funds and failure to do so, the registrar will be dragged to court.
“CDEDI has since given the Registrar General seven (7) days to provide us with the information, or risk being dragged to court for failure to comply with our demands, which are enshrined in the country’s constitution,” said Namiwa.
He added that it is very worrisome that Malawi is regarded as a poor country yet political parties put up super campaigns that undoubtedly involve colossal sums of money which could be used for other national developmental projects
The Director continued to say that the public domain is awash with information on how business people compete to sponsor political parties in the country whom he said in turn found their way into undeserving positions either in the cabinet, or in top government positions.
Namiwa concluded by saying that CDEDI believes that strict adherence to the Political Party Act is the only sure way of uprooting the deep-rooted corruption, which according to studies, claims over 30 percent of the total national budget.