Leader of Opposition, Nankhumwa
By Duncan Mlanjira
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Leader of Opposition and the Party’s vice-president for the South, Kondwani Nankhumwa; secretary-general Gelzeder Jeffrey; treasurer general Jappie Mhango and MP for Mulanje West Yusuf Nthenda have responded to their retention as Party members by asking for an audience with their President Peter Mutharika to discuss the contents of the rescission letters.
In a letter dated August 15, 2021, the four says they want to be clarified as a final resolution on “this matter in the best interest of the party”.
“We are writing to you in response to your letters for reinstatement into the party we received on Friday the 13th of August, ultimo,” says the letter.
“As you may recall, Your Excellency, we went to court with a number of issues — our unlawful expulsion being one of them — and during mediation the Party refused to accept our proposals and mediation collapsed.
“…This is the whole reason as to why the Court issued a certificate of termination of Mediation and Referral Order as per the attached copy.
“We are, therefore, seeking your audience to discuss the contents of the said letters so that we may be clarified as we finally resolve this matter in the best interest of the party.
“We thank you in advance for granting us your audience as we look forward to meeting you at the earliest convenient. We hope you will find the above to be in order and that the said audience will be granted without condition.”
The DPP rescinded its decision it made in October 2020 to expel the four influential members in letters that were issued on August 10 by the Party’s administrative secretary and secretary to Central Executive Committee, Francis Mphepo.
The letters also informed Nankhumwa, Jeffrey and Mhango of the retention of their original posts as Veep for South; secretary general and treasurer general respectively.
Mphepo told the four in their separate letters that the Central Executive Committee arrived at the decision on the understanding that upon their return to the Party and the resumption of their duties, they “shall abide by the party constitution and shall respect the leadership of the Party”.
The four were fired from the DPP for renegading and leading a revolt against party President Peter Mutharika’s choice of Francis Kasaila as Leader of Opposition, which they challenged as undemocratically removing Nankhumwa.
The DPP Central Committee went ahead to appoint Joseph Mwanamveka replacing Nankhumwa as VP South and Samuel Tembenu as secretary general replacing Jeffrey but the renegades sought court intervention which went on to reinstate them.
MP Nthenda was expelled for moving a point of order in Parliament in which he had challenged that what Mutharika tried to do was against Standing Orders.
Nthenda had reminded the House that Mutharika did not have powers to elect who to be a Leader of Opposition but rather the DPP MPs who do so.
Nthenda had disclosed that the DPP MPs did not sit down to nominate the members that should be considered for appointment as Leader of Opposition as per Parliamentary Standing Orders.
The Orders say that whenever it is necessary for the Assembly to elect Leader of Opposition, whether after a general election or when a vacancy in that office has occurred in any other way, the procedure for election shall be provided.
Following the arguments presented by Nthenda, the Deputy Speaker had deferred Mutharika’s communication and that the Leader of the Opposition remained that of Nankhumwa.