The Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) has warned political parties that have not yet met the legislative requirements in the new Political Parties Act that they will be deregistered by December.

The new Act came in force on December 1 2018 and political parties have been given until November 30 this year to put their houses in order.

In a statement issued last week signed by CMD executive director Kizito Tenthani, the organisation said parties which were registered

The Political Parties Bill were given one year to register their political entities based on the new Act.

Tenthani says the one year period expires on November 30 and thereafter all parties, including those that did not contest in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections, will be deregistered.

Section 12 of the Act compels all political parties to have at least 100 members in each district to qualify for a certificate of registration. This means each party should have at least 2 800 registered members nationwide.

The statement reads in part: “Reading together the sections, political parties and the general public should take note that the coming into force of the Political Parties Act on December 1 2018, the 12 month window for political parties to comply with the Act will elapse on November 30 2019.

“This means that the registrar of political parties may start the process of deregistering political parties that

will not have complied with the Act.”

It is not clear how many political parties reregistered using the new law since it came into force.

Political scientists observed, after the passing of the bill in Parliament, that the new Act would be a regulatory tool against some of the parties which do not have national representation.

Chancellor College-based political scientist Mustafa Hussein is on record as having said most political parties in the country do not have a majority support despite getting funding for their activities.

University of Livingstonia (Unilia) political commentator George Phiri also said the country needs political parties with national support.

There are over 40 political parties registered in the country, but only a handful enjoy national support.

The Political Parties Bill was gazetted in 2016 and presented in the National Assembly for debate in June 2017. President Peter Mutharika assented to the Bill in January 2018 for it to become the Political Parties Act of 2018.

Then Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu set December 1 2018 as the commencement date for the new Political Parties Act.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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