Parties given fresh deadline

The registrar of political parties has extended from November 30 this year to March 31 2020 the deadline for political parties to comply with provisions of the Political Parties Act or risk deregistration for non-compliance.

In a notice issued on Monday and signed by the registrar of political parties Christopher Namelo, registered political parties have been informed that prescribed forms, including fee schedule under the Act, will be gazetted within 10 days of the notice.

In an interview yesterday, chief assistant registrar general Joseph Chintolo confirmed the extension from November 30 2019 to March 31 2020.

Political party representatives on the sidelines of a meeting during
the campaign trail

He attributed the extension to lack of regulation to facilitate effective implementation of that Act.

Said Chintolo: “Every Act is usually supposed to be accompanied by regulations. In this particular case, there were no regulations yet for the effective implementations of the Act.”

In a separate interview, Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) executive director Kizito Tenthani, whose organisation sponsored the development of the law, said they noted during one of its meetings with Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Bright Msaka, the Solicitor General and the Registrar General that the prescribed forms political parties were expected to use were not ready.

Commenting on the extension, Zomba-based political analyst Mustafa Hussein echoed Tenthani’s sentiments that it will be an opportunity for political parties to put their houses in order.

The Act, which came into force on December 1 2018, bans the issuing of handouts and outlines transactions which would not constitute handouts, including campaign materials, facilitation of political party meetings through transport refunds, meals and entertainment for the candidate’s entourage.

The Act, among other things, compels political parties to disclose to the registrar sources of their funding and any donations.

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