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Saturday, July 13, 2024

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    Four-year old United Transformation Movement (UTM) is probably the richest political party in the country following a recent purchase of over 200 new Toyota Hilux double cabins worth K3 billion.

    Sources from within the party have revealed that they are procuring movable and immovable assets as one way of building capacity at grassroots.

    The new cars, that add to the existing fleet of 35, are being distributed to party leaders across the country in readiness for the 2025 Presidential campaign.

    Cumulatively, UTM is worth around K3 billion, miles ahead of the Malawi Congress Party, Democratic Progressive Party, United Democratic Front and Peoples Party who are older but with lesser assets.

    The current situation brings to light the need for Parliament and other stakeholders to revisit the issue around political party financing.

    Funding of political parties is in line with Section 40(2) of the Constitution but for UTM the situation is different due to its meagre numbers in Parliament.

    From borrowed branded buses to a fleet of over 200 just in three years

    The enactment of the Political Parties Act by Parliament opened a way for all parties that have a one-tenth threshold in Parliament to have their financial accounts audited.

    Despite coaxing new Members of Parliament to their fold, UTM appears in records to have four legislators as per the 2019 Parliamentary election outcome. As such they fall short of the one-tenth of 193 seats of Parliament.

    Political observers say UTM presents a headache in this regard because they are at liberty to accumulate assets yet they cannot be audited as per law.

    The new phenomenal purchase will force Malawians to connect dots with recent revelations that the Saulos Chilima is being investigated by the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) for receiving US$1 million from Zuneth Sattar who is answering money laundering charges in the United Kingdom.

    The observers say UTM must explain to Malawians how they are getting rich at a faster rate than normal.


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