LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The country’s civil rights body Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) is angry with the Registrar of Political Parties Chikumbutso Namelo for shameful attempt to frustrate political parties’ disclosure on financing.
On May 17, 2021, CDEDI wrote the registrar, challenging his office to make available the sources of all private funding to the major political parties in Malawi, in line with the Political Parties Act of 2018; Section 37 of the Republican Constitution; and the Access to Information Act.
CDEDI’s anger comes after Namelo responded by asking the watchdog to furnish him with its registration details as a precondition to making available the information on parties financing.
The organization demanded that this information should be in the form of cash, assets and in kind received as donations within and outside the country.
But Namelo, in his response dated May 19, 2021, also demanded that CDEDI should produce evidence of its registration with the Malawi Government before he could release the information.
“You wrote us as CDEDI and accordingly, I would like to request you to kindly furnish us with your organization’s registration details as we have been unable to find the same in our records. For your information, it is our procedure to verify the registration status of any registered entity before attending to any application or request made by the entity,” demands the Registrar of Political Parties.
“I look forward to receiving evidence of registration of your organization soonest so that I can substantively respond to your letter,” adds Namelo.
But when he addressed journalists in the capital Lilongwe on Friday,May 28, 2021 CDEDI executive director Sylvester Namiwa accused the Registrar of Political Parties of playing some old and archaic tricks in its efforts to ignore their demands for disclosure of information on political party financing.
“Instead of responding to the call, CDEDI regrets to inform Malawians that Mr. Chikumbutso Namelo, who is the current Registrar of Political Parties, responded by asking us to furnish him with our registration details as a precondition to making available the information we are seeking. We find such a response as a mockery to Malawians, total disrespect of the office he is occupying, and a futile attempt to defend the indefensible,” said Namiwa.
He reiterated that disclosure of information declared by political parties as regards party financing is the only sure way of addressing the root cause of deep-rooted corruption in the country, which according to studies, claims 30 percent of the national budget.
But Namiwa said as a law-abiding citizen and non-governmental organization, CDEDI submitted its registration certificate no. 01/251 on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.
“Following this submission, we have extended our ultimatum with two days, and we are expecting positive response from the registrar’s office on or before Monday, May 31, 2021. Should our request hit a blank wall, CDEDI will still proceed to seek legal intervention on our demands, which are enshrined in the country’s constitution,” he said.
CDEDI wants disclosure information on financing from political parties including Malawi Congress Party (MCP), UTM, Democrat Progressive Party (DPP), Peoples Party (PP), AFORD, United Democratic Front (UDF) and among others.