Jappie Mhango, who served as Health Minister in Mutharika’s administration
* Also demands public notice to be published in any newspaper of daily circulation
* Informing the public that he has erroneously and without instructions from Mhango filed an application on his behalf
* In seeking nullification of the resolution made at the DPP’s National Governing Council on July 3
By Duncan Mlanjira
Member of Parliament for Rumphi North, Jappie Mhango is demanding that his name should be removed from the civil case against Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) which Leader of the Opposition, Kondwani Nankhumwa filed in Court which includes DPP secretary general Grelzeder Jeffrey and MP for Mulanje West Yusuf Nthenda.
Failing to do so within five days from Friday, July 21, Mhango shall institute proceedings against Nankhumwa seeking K100 million “being damages for libel, emotional distress and for costs of litigation”.
Nankhumwa is also being asked to publish a public notice in any newspaper of daily circulation informing the public that he has “erroneously and without instructions” from Mhango filed an application on his behalf seeking nullification of the resolution made at the DPP’s National Governing Council meeting held on July 3 at Nkopola Lodge in Mangochi.
And also to publish an undertaking that Nankhumwa shall desist from making any further applications or reference to Mhango in any further conduct of the case in question or in reference to him concerning his alleged involvement in seeking nullification of the resolution made at the said DPP’s National Governing Council meeting.
The Leader of Opposition, who is the DPP’s vice-president (South) is also being asked to make an acknowledgment that Mhango did not instruct him nor express any intention or desire to nullify the resolution made at the meeting.
Through lawyers, Robert’s & Franklin Law Consultants, Mhango — who is DPP’s treasurer general — stresses that he is astounded of his name’s inclusion and thus distances himself from the application.
“Our client further avers that he does not know you and has, neither by himself nor any of his servants or agents, ever met you or any of your servants or agents nor has he instructed anyone to furnish you with instructions to make such an application on his behalf in the above cited matter or on any matter whatsoever.
“We are informed that there is a copy of the notice of hearing of the application which you have filed in the Lilongwe District of the High Court which is circulating on social media.
“Our client is of the position that your filing of this application with our client as a party to the said proceedings, when you do not have instructions from him, and when our client is not a party to the cited proceedings, is malicious, aimed at misleading the public, bringing confusion among the general membership of the DPP, and tarnishing his political ambitions.”
Mhango further maintains that Nankhumwa’s republication of the said notice of hearing through social media outlets — “which have the potential of reaching an unquantified number of social media users” — has caused him “a lot of distress, ridicule, anxiety and lowered his standing among his peers and among the general public”.
Mhango further indicates that he shall also lodge a complaint with the Malawi Law Society concerning Nankhumwa’s “unethical conduct in filing an application and citing him as party to proceedings when he had not furnished him with any instructions for the same”.
“We trust that you will give this matter your prompt and preferential attention to avoid the expense, inconvenience of litigation and further, from being exposed to sanction for violation of the Legal Practitioners Code of Conduct.”
The Civil case number 898 of 2020 that was filed at the Lilongwe District Registry of the High Court, applies for an order for the nullification of the proceedings and resolutions of the National Governing Council meeting on July 3 — citing amongst several issues of concerns that include invitations to the meeting been sent to some members on the night of July 1; thus too short to travel and make positive contributions to its success.
The invitations also did not include the meetings agenda, which was only circulated on the day of the caucus, which started without adopting the agenda as required.
Nankhumwa also cites that no member was allowed to discuss, ask questions or ask for clarity during the meeting that that party president Peter Mutharika was unilateral endorsed as DPP’s presidential candidates for the 2025 national elections.
The meeting also used voice votes allegedly to identify dissenting views while there was also presence of intimidating muscular bouncers in the conference hall who were allegedly silencing anyone who raised up their hands to speak.
In the past two years, Nankhumwa, Mhango, Jeffrey and Nthenda were at loggerheads with their party when Mutharika tried to remove the vice-president as Leader of Opposition in Parliament and went to to challenge the decision.
As the case dragged on, Mutharika called for a reconciliatory meeting after they were reinstated in their various posts, high they were fired from.
Following the rescission of the Central Committee to reinstate them, Mhango withdrew from the legal proceedings in January last year, saying the decision was to him part of the reconciliation process.
He added that what was bothering him was that instead of moving on after the reinstatement, Nankhumwa did not move to withdraw the case from the court having been requested to do so.
“This has been perceived as some sort of defiance which I do agree with,” he had said. “I have always believed that in any organizations, differences are inevitable and are health for the organization one way or the other.
“In the spirit of party cohesion and in respect of the call by the party President that we all get together and pull in one direction for the betterment of the institution all us us love so dearly, I have decided to withdraw from the case with immediate effect.
“This maybe viewed as betrayal by other quarters but truth be told, all of us are what we are today because of our Party President, His Excellency Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika,” said Mhango, who served as Minister of Health in Mutharika’s administration.
In November last year, in what seemed to have been a reconciliatory meeting, it turned out that Mutharika’s and Nankhumwa’s political estrangement was far from over, when Nankhumwa 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.
The DPP’s spokesperson, Shadric Namalomba had issued a statement after the reconciliatory meeting which said Nankhumwa “agreed to withdraw all court cases that his camp commenced against the party and other senior officials — who are Francis Mphepo, Brown Mpinganjira, Zellia Chakale and Charles Mchacha.
But Nankhumwa had countered the statement, saying the ‘defamation’ case was against the four, describing it as “personal” and adding that the meeting he and Mutharika had together with five other senior members “agreed that the status quo of all other cases that are before the courts against the party remain unchanged” until Mutharika agreed to hold a closed-door meeting to discuss matters relating to the cases.
During the reconciliatory meeting APM invited Nankhumwa and fellow party presidential aspirants — Paul Gadama; Dalitso Kabambe; David Mbera; Bright Msaka and Joseph Mwanamveka — that led to Namalomba issuing the notice indicating that Nankhumwa had thrown in an olive branch with the DPP.
Namalomba asserted that Nankhumwa agreed to withdraw all court cases against the party and the other four senior officials to which the Leader of Opposition opposed.