* His term of office expired after five years (in 2018) but he continued to hold elections until new office bearers were to be elected
* Following his intention to run for Presidency of the Republic of Malawi in 2019 and 2020 in accordance with the party’s constitution
By Duncan Mlanjira
The Democratic Progressive Part (DPP) and its president, Peter Mutharika are to appear before High Court Judge in Chambers of Justice Simeon Mdeza on December 1 following an application that declares that Mutharika “is no longer fit to continue” as the Party’s president.
The application has be sought by Fredrick Billy Malata (the party’s deputy director of political affairs & member of the National Governing Council); Ken Chitatata Msonda (member of the National Governing Council); and Thomas Joe Nyirongo (deputy director of operations and also National Governing Council member).
They contend that Mutharika should “cease to perform any duties” of the office of the DPP and there is also a declaration in the application that he is “not eligible to contest as a presidential candidate for the [DPP] at the upcoming national political conference”.
Another order being asked is that an interim party president be appointed by the DPP’s Central Committee or from the members who have shown interest to contest as leader of the party — namely Prophet David Mbewe; Joseph Mwanamveka; Bright Msaka, Dalitso Kabambe; Paul Gadama and Kondwani Nankhumwa.
A sworn statement by the applicants’ legal counsel, Gladwell Majekete says Mutharika was elected DPP president at a national party conference in 2013 in accordance with the provision of the party constitution.
His term of office expired after five years (in 2018) but he continued to hold elections until new office bearers were to be elected at the national political conference following his intention to run for Presidency of the Republic of Malawi in 2019 and 2020 in accordance with the party’s constitution.
The three applicants contend that Mutharika has within the past three years conducted DPP’s business in total breach of the Party’s constitution such as:
* arranging and overseeing election of George Chaponda as Leader of Opposition in Parliament — replacing Nankhumwa — without following the Party’s constitution, a decision that was nullified by the High Court;
* arranging and overseeing a National Governing Council meeting held on July 3, 2023 at Nkopola Lodge in Mangochi with full knowledge that the meeting and the deliberations therein were irregular for breaching the Party’s constitution, non-compliant with Court Order dated May 5, 2022;
* arranging and overseeing the election of the party’s disciplinary committee contrary to the party’s constitution;
* Generally, acting in a manner that yields personal benefit for himself at the expense of constitutionalism and intra-party democracy by not taking steps to reverse the three irregularities until the Courts intervened despite full knowledge that the actions were contrary to the party’s constitution; and
* that Mutharika was motivated by the endorsements he personally got to be the Party’s presidential candidate as well as amassing support from the general membership of the party, thereby acting in conflict with the interest of the party as a whole.
Thus on these premises, the three — Fredrick Billy Malata, Ken Chitatata Msonda and Thomas Joe Nyirongo — believe that Mutharika is not fit to continue as DPP’s acting president and that the Party should convene the national political conference as ordered by the Court.
They also believe that Mutharika is not eligible to contest as party presidential candidate for the reason that he has already served two terms as DPP leader “by virtue of his presidential candidature for the Republic of Malawi”.
Further Mutharika is accused of failing “to uphold the constitution of the party thereby breaching intra-party democratic principles and that he has been acting in conflict of interest to the interest of the party in order to promote personal interest for his presidential candidature.