Party constitution does not regulate distribution of party attire

(Sauli Cloud is contesting the ban of T-shirts embossed with his picture. The judge is already seated)

Judge Mbadwa: This court is hearing an application from Friends of Sauli Cloud, the Vice-president of the Republic of Nyasaland.

The friends of Sauli Cloud want this court to declare a statement from People’s Demagogic Party (PDP) Jaffo wa Jaffalo unconstitutional and against freedom of expression and freedom of dressing.

Counsel for Friends of Sauli Cloud Waneck Kalindonda can present to this court substantive arguments in this matter.

Kalindonda: My Lord, on behalf of Friends of Sauli Cloud, we are dismayed at the legal illiteracy displayed by the secretary general of PDP Jaffo wa Jaffalo on the use party cloth, T-shirts and the embossing of people’s faces on the T-shirts.

My Lord, we are in a free country and we belong to a party that claims to be democratic; hence, it has not been stated anywhere that harbouring ambitions to lead is a crime neither is challenging the incumbency sacrilege.

When we decided to campaign for Sauli after  Tally-star Chazizira told all and sundry that Mulamu Mapuya cannot win, we went full-throttle printing PDP T-shirts  and cloth with the name and face of Chilima embossed on them but Jaffalo says that is illegal.

The party’s secretary general claims that only Mapuya’s face should be printed on PDP cloth and T-shirts and she went on to describe us as enemies of the party.

Those who are printing and distributing the T-shirts have also been unfairly threatened with arrests and confiscation of the material

But My Lord, what law have we broken? We have scrutinised the PDP constitution and nowhere does it state that nobody shall emboss their face on T-shirts and party clothes save Mapuya.

Well, I have read article 15 of the constitution of PDP and it only talks about the seal of the party being kept under lock and key of the secretary general of course it is on record that it was once stolen hahahaha!

It also talks about the emblem of the party being four bananas arranged in a flower pattern and that the party will assume the colours of the sky for its cloth.

Does it state that embossing one’s face on the clothes becomes an offence? It doesn’t My Lord.

In fact as it is, any bona fide member of PDP can emboss their name and face on the T-shirt and party cloth as they so wish and the party has no mandate to regulate that.

We believe Jaffalo is misapplying the Protected Flag, Emblems and Names Amendment) of 2012 to a party issue.

PDP is not a State organ and that is something we want Jaffalo to clearly understand.

It is our view, My Lord, that she does not have the powers to stop anyone printing and distributing Sauli’s campaign paraphernalia.

It is our contention that Jaffalo’s conduct is akin to acts meant to suppress freedom of expression as well as that of dressing which Sauli’s supporters are supposed to enjoy.

Above all, by segregating a certain section of PDP members, Jaffalo in the statement contradicts Article 3 of the party’s constitution that states that membership is open to all citizens of Malawi regardless of gender, race, tribe, religion and even regardless of the potential candidate one places their allegiance to.  My Lord, declare the statements retrogressive and illegal.

Mbadwa: This is a straightforward case. Unless the party amends it constitution to clearly define usage of the party cloth and T-shirt, the secretary general has no legal basis to stop printing and distribution of Sauli’s clothes. Dismissed with costs. n



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