Cross-party dialogue remains a key factor in cementing democratic values among Malawians and eradicate political misunderstanding and violence among political players in the country, says President Arthur Peter Mutharika.

His remarks came at a meeting with Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) at Kamuzu Palace on Thursday where the lobbying body went to introduce to him the institution and its products.

The meeting was attended by representatives of political parties that are active on the country’s political platform either through Parliament or Local Government councils.

“Malawians out there have an interest to hear what it is like to have all the major political parties in one room and agreeing on something concrete. We need dialogue in order to work together. We have one Malawi, and its development is the responsibility of all of us,” said the President.

President Mutharika called on all parties and all political players to promote Patriotism, Integrity and Hard work among Malawians.

According to CMD Director Kizito Tenthani, they are currently lobbying for an introduction of a new law to regulate registration of political parties in the country owing to the fact that the current scenario defeats the precepts of democracy.

CMD is proposing the repealing of the Political Parties (Registration and Regulation) Act (Cap. 2:07), and replacing it with a Political Parties Act. Tenthani -while expanding on the new proposal- observed that change is necessary because out of 54 registered political parties in the country,only 17 took part in the 2014 elections.

Worse still – he added- only six parties are active either in Parliament or Local Government councils, a situation he called ‘worrying’ as it keeps in the register political institutions that are inactive and not representative enough. Another proposal being brought forward is that of political party funding which Tenthani singled out as very important especially in the light of Cashgate.

“Your Excellency, Malawians are aware of how money was stolen from the public purse to fund a political party. This information was given in a court of law as such we should treat it with seriousness.

Malawians would be very willing to know where the money that funds their political parties comes from,” said Tenthani in reference to Oswald Lutepo’s confession that he and friends stole billions to funds the former ruling Peoples Party.

CMD has over 10 years of experience working with political parties in Malawi and has been a platform for dialogue for political parties. The goal for CMD is “Promotion of a well-functioning multiparty political system and accountable political parties in Malawi”.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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