Nankhumwa explains decision on withdraw of K87m legal claim against DPP

Nankhumwa, DPP vice-president for the South

* My colleagues and I are bona-fide senior members of the party, which we pledged to serve diligently

* We still love the DPP, and we are totally committed to do anything in our power to see it succeed in all future endeavours

* In the same vein, we would not want to see the party suffer in any way whether financially or otherwise

By Duncan Mlanjira

Kondwani Nankhumwa, who is at a leadership wrangle with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), of which he is its vice-president for the South explains that he — and fellow party renegades — will settle the K87 million legal bills which the court ordered DPP pay using their personal resources.


In a statement, Nankhumwa said this course of action is intended to put the matter to rest, which challenged the party from removing him as Leader of Opposition in October, 2021.

He described the caucus that the DPP president,Peter Mutharika called at the former President’s retirement home, the PAGE House in Mangochi did not represent a full party quorum, saying on a few people gathered.

Amongst others missing at the caucus included Nankhumwa himself; Grezelder Jeffrey (the DPP secretary general); MP Jappie Mhango (treasurer general) and MP Yusuf Nthenda “for reasons that were as murky that time as they are as inaudible today”.

“We considered the decision as unprocedural and unfair,” he said. “In any case, we were not even given a chance to be heard before the expulsion was implemented as it is spelled out in the disciplinary framework of the party.

“As bona-fide citizens of this country, we decided to exercise our right to legal redress, which is why we turned to the courts to obtain an injunction against the decision to expel us.”

Having been granted an injunction, Nankhumwa and the fellow party renegades, also challenged their expulsion and the High Court made a ruling to dismiss their expulsion with costs.

“This was the determination made by the court, and it is the same court that also sets the procedure for assessing costs with the involvement of lawyers from both parties. This money is mostly to cover the legal costs for the case.


“I am saying all this in order to set the record straight because a group of small-minded individuals has arisen that has hijacked the issue to mislead and cultivate sympathy for themselves among DPP members whilst portraying us as just wanting to take underserved money from the party.

“That conduct is not only misleading but also destructive at a time when we should all be pulling in one direction. Why would we want to demand money from our own party?”

He thus emphasized that he and the other three party members “are bona-fide senior members of the party, which we pledged to serve diligently when we were elected at the national convention in 2018.

“We still love the DPP, and we are totally committed to do anything in our power to see it succeed in all future elections and other endeavours.

In the same vein, we would not want to see the party suffer in any way whether financially or otherwise. This is the reason why we have decided to withdraw this claim in its entirety.”

Mutharika presiding over the controversial caucus

In his conclusion, Nankhumwa said the matter at hand “must serve as a lesson to all current and future leaders of the party,” adding that the DPP belongs to all members and not a chosen few.

“As a leadership, we must make decisions that are inclusive and meant to build the party and not based on malice and vindictiveness to avoid putting the party in avoidable negative financial exposure as has been demonstrated by this scenario.

“This is water under the bridge now, and my humble appeal to fellow DPP members and leaders is to focus on rebuilding the party as an alternative government. We must remain united as a party as we prepare for our elective national convention next year, 2023, in our collective quest to take back the government in 2025.”

Nankhumwa is embroiled in leadership wrangle within the DPP hierarchy and in November last year, Mutharika hosted a reconciliatory meeting but vice-president continued his political estrangement with the party when he strongly refuted a statement made after the meeting that he had “unconditionally withdrawn the defamation case” he filed through the court against four senior members of the party — Francis Mphepo, Brown Mpinganjira, Zellia Chakale and Charles Mchacha.

The failed reconciliation meeting last year

During the reconciliatory meeting, Mutharika invited Nankhumwa and fellow party presidential aspirants — Paul Gadama; Dalitso Kabambe; David Mbera; Bright Msaka and Joseph Mwanamveka — that led the party to issue the notice indicating that Nankhumwa had thrown in an olive branch with the DPP.

Beginning of this year, Nankhumwa continued to court controversy within the party when he forced Mutharika to demand a retraction of a political poster on which the vice-president used a picture of himself and that of party founder, late Bingu wa Mutharika.

APM reacted by issuing a statement that he felt aggrieved over the use of his late brother’s picture, saying the “purpose of this callous action is to give the impression that the late Bingu would have endorsed” Nankhumwa’s party president candidacy.

Mutharika had maintained that as head of the Mutharika family, he had been distressed by this exploitation and asked Nankhumwa to withdraw the poster and to never post another one — which he never did.

The poster — with a screaming headline said: ‘Kalikonse Mukaona in 2022’ — quoted Bingu as saying “Power is never given on a silver platter. You must fight for it”.

Mutharika was also forced to voice out his outrage on Nankhumwa when he visited a man identified as Kalani Thom Mutharika — who claimed to be a relation to both Bingu and Peter — a move which was seen as Nankhumwa trying to gain political mileage.

Mutharika disputed and rejected claims that Kalani Thom Mutharika is related to his clan, saying in APM’s family were six children who survived adulthood — Jimmie, Lizzie, Bingu, Ida, Peter (our President) and Christina.

The meeting with Kalani Thom Mutharika

Thus Mutharika saw Kalani Thom as “a fraud and an impostor,” whilst asking Nankhumwa to “slow down and reflect” as he is taking his “war for presidency too far against innocent people”.

However, Kalani Thom — through his son Pastor Joseph Thom Mutharika maintained the relationship with APM and Bingu and demanded an apology from Mutharika for describing him as an impostor.

The visit by Nankhumwa was to show that Kalani Thom was destitute having been ill for some time — an indication that the Mutharika family was neglecting him.

Nankhumwa is reported to have donated various assorted items for Kalani’s upkeep and also pledged to construct him a decent house as he does not own one and lives in his sister’s house at Kachingwe Village in Traditional Authority Mkalo in Chiradzulu.