Jeffrey, under attack by her own party
* ‘Jeffrey has of late and by her own choice ceased to act on behalf of the Party’
* ‘She has chosen to serve the interests of individuals for reasons best known to her’
* ‘Her position as Secretary General of the Party can only be ascribed to her because of the injunction she obtained’
By Duncan Mlanjira
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has issued a statement disassociating itself from announcements made by its embattled Secretary General Gelzeder Jeffrey in which she had said she was speaking on behalf of the DPP.
The DPP says Jeffrey has “of late and by her own choice ceased to act on behalf of the Party or promote its legitimate collective interests, but has, instead, chosen to serve the interests of individuals for reasons best known to her.
“Her position as Secretary General of the Party can only be ascribed to her because of the injunction she obtained.”
Jeffrey, who have been reinstated by the court to the position from which she was fired in October, started exercising her powers and issued a statement on “steps towards the DPP National Convention”.
But the DPP says theirs is a properly structured political party which, when it speaks, its voice represents a collective expression of its membership through the Central Committee, the only body under its constitution which is mandated to make decisions in between political conferences.
“In this respect, our decisions are never punctuated by the ‘I’ will do this or that, as will be seen in the so-called press statement released by Ms Jeffrey,” says the statement that is widely circulating.
“The DPP would like to advise and remind all its membership that the roadmap to the next Political Conference or Convention was clearly spelt out by the Party President.”
In her statement, Jeffrey had announced that the DPP would soon be going for an elective conference to choose new National Governing Council (NGC) members including that of the party president to steer the party towards the 2025 national elections.
But in the opposing statement, the DPP says: “To put matters into their proper perspective, the current office bearers of the DPP were elected at its Convention in 2018.
“The term of office bearers is five years and it is neither determined by a loss nor a win of a general election. The current leadership is therefore properly and constitutionally discharging its mandate.
“No decision has been made by the Central Committee to curtail the constitutional term. The statements made by Ms Jeffrey are, therefore, an expression of her fanciful wishes and her continued attempts to undermine the leadership.
Jeffrey had also disclosed that former Head of State, Peter Mutharika would soon be retiring as DPP president “after dutifully and honorably serving his constitutional two terms”.
But the opposing statement from the party says, Mutharika — in his address to the members of the DPP — made it clear that he shall, in due course be stepping down as party leader.
“He announced that meanwhile, there has been instituted a functional review to look at ways of re-organizing the Party.
“He made it clear that at the moment most of the structures of the Party have collapsed and there is need to revive them.
“The Functional Review Committee has now completed its work and will soon submit its report to the Central Committee and the Central Committee will table that Report before the National Governing Council.”
The party further says if Jeffrey was properly exercising her functions as secretary general, she would have recognized the current agenda and timetable of party activities before “blurting out about the Convention”.
“Sadly, even now, as well as before, she is so obsessed with the Party Convention and the retirement of Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika. All loyal members of the Party who have no personal agenda to drive have accepted the roadmap that has been set by the Party leadership, namely, to have the Party properly re-organized, a task being undertaken by the Functional Review Committee.
“We would like to challenge Ms Jeffrey, that the Agenda of the DPP, will be driven by its entire membership through the Central Committee and not those who want to serve their own self interests.
“We call upon her not to overrate her position or powers of that position because a truly functioning Secretary General can only do so with the sanction of the leadership, which leadership Ms Jeffrey has so far despised and not given due respect to.”
The party says it respects the fact that Jeffrey and others had gone to Court to assert her position as secretary general but “at the same time, the Court order does not authorize her to disregard the protocol of decision making in the Party hierarchy”.
“It is indeed the belief of the DPP that even the Courts will at the end of the day respect the fact that political parties are best managed by politicians and not the courts.
“We, therefore, would like to advise the entire membership of the DPP to ignore the press statement released by Ms Jeffrey because it neither represents nor reflects the views of the Party and its leadership in as far as the roadmap to the next Political Conference/Convention is concerned.”
Jeffrey, together with the party’s vice-president (South) and Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Kondwani Nankhumwa; treasurer general Jappie Mhango; MP for Mulanje West Yusuf Nthenda and several others were fired by the party after leading a revolt against party President Peter Mutharika’s choice of Francis Kasaila as Leader of Opposition, undemocratically removing Nankhumwa.
The DPP Central Committee appointed Samuel Tembenu as secretary general replacing Jeffrey and Joseph Mwanamveka replacing Nankhumwa as VP South — but the renegades sought court intervention which has since reinstated them.