Parties registrar appeals against UTM ruling

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Registrar of Political Parties in Malawi, through the office of the Attorney General, has appealed against a ruling by the High Court ordering for the registration of UTM as a political party within seven days.

UTM leader Saulos Chilima UTM leader Saulos Chilima

On November 2 2018, Judge Justice Chirwa of the High Court in Blantyre ordered the registrar to register UTM within seven days from the day of the ruling, on grounds that the Registrar was not justified in refusing to register UTM as a political party under Political Parties Registration and Regulation Act (PPRRA).

In the ruling, Justice Chirwa also declared that the registrar was not justified in considering what was in public domain- that UTM stands for United Transformation Movement- in execution of his statutory duties.

But according to court documents which MBC Online has seen, the registrar was not satisfied with the decision of Justice Chirwa and has since applied to the Supreme Court of Appeal for a reversal the same.

Filed as Miscellaneous Civil Appeal Number 113 of 2018, among others, the registrar wants the ruling reversed on grounds that Justice Chirwa erred in law and fact by finding that the UTM was not accorded an opportunity to be heard.

“Section 43 (b) of the Constitution of Malawi simply requires that the parties affected by the impugned decision should be informed in writing with the reasons thereof.

“The learned judge erred in law and fact in failing to interpret Section 7 of the PPRRA in that the Honourable Judge adopted a narrow and restrictive approach when in fact, the learned judge should have interpreted the said section of PPRRA purposively so as to include other grounds covered in the Act including those under Section 18 of the PPRRA,” read part of the appeal.

Meanwhile, Senior State Advocate in the Ministry of Justice and Constitution Affairs Neverson Chisiza, has applied to the court for an order to suspend the enforcement of Justice Chirwa’s judgement on the basis that its enforcement would render the registrar’s appeal pointless.

The court has since set November 13 2018 as a date for the hearing of the application.

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