Can Malawian political parties reconsider paid up membership as a way of fundaising? CMD-M conducted workshops in Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu with party leaders at district level to shed more light on the subject.
It was discovered that Political Parties in Malawi raise their funds by organizing football matches, dinner dances and coffee mornings, but their main sources are donations from well wishers from inside and even outside of the parties. Donor money, however, com...es with strings attached and difficult conditionalities. The party leadership finds it hard to budget on donor money since they do not know how much they will be given that year. Party members also don't have a sense of ownership of the paty because those who contribute towards the management of the party activities are the ones who are consedered as the real owners of the party. Is it high time, therefore, political parties considered bringing back paid up membership?
Paid up membership is where every member of a political party is obliged to willingly pay a fixed amount of money or more to their parties. This is a sign of commitment and it shows that they are in full support of the party's ideologies and manifestos. Paid up membership makes it easier for parties to recognize their members and it conquers internal democracy in parties. Members have a sense of ownership and they can ask for clarification on how finances are handled.
The idea has not recently received enough support because it was once misused during the one party system when people were forced to buy cards and were denied some of their rights in absence of the card. People are therefore a bit unsure because they don't want to go back to such times. There was also no accountability on how the money gained from the selling of the cards was being used.
However, with good personnel recruited and effective accountability mechanisms put in place, this could be a solution to lack of funds in most political parties especially those out of government. This money can be used during conventions and for campaigning.