As political parties are in the process of collecting signatures from their supporters in all the country’s regions in order to register with the Registrar of Political Parties, it has been reported that some National Registration Bureau (NRB) officers are demanding money for them to verify the names of the signatories.
The process of political party registration aims at vetting the parties in the country to do away with those that are dormant or no longer in operation.
According to Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) spokesperson, Khumbo Mwawungulu, some NRB officers in Zomba, Ntchisi and Ntcheu are demanding money ranging from K5, 000 to K20, 000 as an allowance, which he said is not in line with the Political Parties Act of 2018.
Mwawungulu revealed that in Zomba their party officials were asked by NRB officers to pay K20, 000 while in Ntchisi they were demanded to pay K5, 000 per name of the signatory.
Mwawungulu said: “We are wondering that NRB officers are demanding allowances from us yet the Political Parties Act does not tell us to do so and we are wondering if the registrar of political parties is aware of such exercises.”
When YFM asked Registration Officer for NRB in Zomba, James Phiri, whose office has been implicated in the matter, he denied about any of his officers being involved in the malpractice.
However, Phiri said a few days ago one of the NRB officers was joking with the District Commissioners’ secretary on the issue of the said allowances.
He said on the material day, the DC’s secretary came to the office of NRB with AFORD official to look for a missing file which had the party’s signatories and, in the process, NRB official was joking with the secretary by demanding K20, 000 as an allowance for searching the file.
“I suspect that the official from Afford who came with the DC’s secretary might have overheard from the jokes between the two and then implicate the matter,” said Phiri.
NRB spokesperson, Norman Fulatira said his office is not aware of the matter and asked for more time to verify.
Meanwhile, political parties’ umbrella body, Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD), Executive Director, Kizito Tenthani, has confirmed receiving the complaint and said, “According to the Political Parties Act, the regulations that have been gazzeted do not mention anything to do with payment of any fee at the district council neither to the DC nor the NRB.”