By Duncan Mlanjira
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is claiming that its vice-president for the South, Kondwani Nankhumwa is not the legitimate Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly but rather George Chaponda.
The party’s disciplinary committee has since summoned Nankhumwa to a disciplinary hearing, and the first charge is undermining the authority of the DPP president Peter Mutharika by informing the Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara that he had been appointed Leader of the Opposition.
The summons before him indicate that before the DPP President communicated to the Speaker of Parliament on his choice of Leader of Opposition, Nankhumwa went ahead to inform the Speaker that he had been chosen as Leader of Opposition and an announcement was made to this effect.
“And when the President told you that he had chosen Honorable George Chaponda as Leader of Opposition, and you as Chief Whip, you refused and sent him a “Bye” message,” says the summons signed by the party’s disciplinary committee secretary, Charles Mhango.
His second charge is “conspiracy to mislead His Excellency the President in violation of Article 6 (ii), (v), (vii) and (viii) of the DPP Constitution and contrary to the interest of the DPP”.
The particulars of this charge are that between June 29 and July 10, 2020, Nankhumwa allegedly conspired with the party’s Secretary General to mislead Mutharika and lead a revolt if his imposed position of as Leader of Opposition was to be reversed.
The third charge is that he had a meeting with the Head of State Lazarus Chakwera without informing or seeking the authority from Mutharika himself which is contrary to Article 6 (ii), (v), (vii) and (xi) of the DPP Constitution.
Nankhumwa is also accused of visiting Malawi Congress Party officials between August 1 and September 4, 2020 at the residence former Official Hostess, Mama CT Kadzamira, again without informing or seeking the authority from Mutharika.
Indeed Nankhumwa visited Mama’s residence as indicated on his Facebook post of July 31, that said: “Today, I met in audience one of the women who shares a greater part of our Nation’s history, Mama Cecilia Tamanda Kadzamira.
“She remains one of outstanding women in the country — full of wisdom, integrity and love for Mother Malawi. She wished me success and God’s blessings in my new capacity as Leader of Opposition,” he had said.
Nankhumwa’s fourth charge is that of the authenticity of his accademic qualifications, saying there have been several queries in the public domain about this “which tend to negatively affect your standing as a senior member of the DPP”.
“However, you have publicly and conclusively responded and or resolved such queries and concerns to instill confidence in any office that you hold on behalf of the Party.”
The committee has now summoned him for his side of the story under Article 15 (3) of the party before making recommendations to the central committee under Article 15 (4).
According to Times 360 News, Nankhumwa confirmed of being summoned for the disciplinary hearing.
In their reaction to the development, some members of the public were incredulous that Mutharika was unaware that Nankhumwa orchestrated a move to become Leader of Opposition without his knowledge as party leader.
Robson Nyirenda said on Facebook that this brings to mind that Mutharika was also unaware that alleged unscrupulous people used his name in the cementgate.
“Peter Mutharika is the most irresponsible leader our nation has ever had. He cries and refuses responsibility like a weak teenager. You mean you weren’t aware of Nankhumwa’s qualifications too.
“We need DPP for the sake of democracy, but with APM, the whole opposition will die.”
Phillip Chindewe defended Nankhumwa, saying he was the only one fighting for DPP’s survival and summoning and disciplining him shall divide the party further.