Disunity and squabbles within main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has split the party into two factions with one led by the country’s immediate past president Peter Mutharika (DPP-Mutharika) and the other led by leader of opposition in parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa (DPP-Nankhumwa).
The DPP secretary general Grezelder Jeffrey, who is aligning with the DPP-Nankhumwa, has since called for an emergency National Governing Council (NGC) meeting in Lilongwe on Saturday to map the way forward for the party following the political turmoil.
But DPP-Mutharika’s spokesperson Brown Mpinganjira has since said the party has not sanctioned nor called for any NGC meeting “either Saturday October 3 or any time in the next few days.”
Mpinganjira said DPP has already announced plans to hold an NGC meeting after the Functional Review Committee has completed its task and presented its findings and recommendations to the Central Committee at the end of October.
“The power to call for an NGC meeting does not lie in any particular individual, however high their station in life might be. Rather, such powers lie in the institutions of the party,” said Mpinganjira in a statement seen by Nyasa Times.
He added: “The Central Committee of the party, chaired by the party president, Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, will normally determine when such a meeting will take place. Thereafter, the Secretary General, after consulting the party president, would inform all NGC members of the planned meeting.
“Any announcement of an NGC meeting that has not evolved from this process is merely aimed at sowing seeds of confusion among the rank and file of the party.”
But Jeffrey remained defiant that DPP executive members should attend the emergency meeting and that if they form a quorum they will proceed.
Meanwhile, Parliament has upheld the election of Nankhumwa as Leader of Opposition. Speaker Catherine Gotani Hara officially announced in the House on Friday that the election process of Nankhumwa by the DPP party met all requirements of Parliamentary standing orders.
But Mpinganjira said DPP will be taking “corrective measures.”
He did not elaborate. But Nyasa Times sources within DPP indicate that the party wants to expel Nankhumwa.
“Very soon the party will make its position on the matter clear. We are very aware of the requirement of the law,” said Mpinganjira, a former lawmaker.
If DPP expels Nankhumwa, he is likely to be followed by legislators led by chairperson of the backbenchers Victor Musowa.
Musowa told Nyasa Times that they want to fight for good governance from within to restore support from the electorate in the run-up to the next general election.
The MPs, who claim the alliance now has 40 parliamentarians, argued that Nankhumwa has the support of the various leaders within the party.
“Most of the DPP youth are supporting Nankhumwa, who himself is 42-years-old,” said Musowa, “So they see him as the future of the DPP. The other camp [DPP-Mutharika] has people in their 60s and 80s.”
DPP-Mutharika has in their camp Mpinganjira, Francis Mphepo, Bright Msaka, Francis Kasaila, Goodall Gondwe, Jean Kalirani, Samuel Tembenu, Everton Chimulirenji and George Chaponda.
Political and governance commentators have warned DPP against transforming in a fiefdom of Mutharika, saying the party was headed for disaster if the leadership does not properly look into the issues.
Governance expert Makhumbo Munthali told Nyasa Times that the decision to call for NGC meeting is welcome if the purpose of doing such a review is indeed to improve how the party is governed as part of the broader project of restoring its lost glory.
However, Munthali observed a Special Committee which is led by Msaka may not have been sanctioned by the NGC but instead by the party president Mutharika and inner circle in the process raising suspicion on the motives of such a review.
“Some would view such a process as merely aimed at advancing the narrow selfish interests of the party president and his inner circle (perhaps to target or reward certain individuals) and then use the NGC forum to simply rubber stamp the decision,” said Munthali.
He said the Special Committee if it gets NGC nod would enhance acceptance and recognition of its work and subsequent recommendations report.
“ In the ideal situation DPP should have adhered to its party Constitution and democratic tenets by first convening a National Governing Council to agree whether there was need to have a functional review or not and then come up with a special committee to do that job.
“To put it in other words, the people to do the functional review need to have mandate from NGC or a Convention, and the very question to do a functional review must have the blessings of the NGC not just few people within Mutharika inner circle,” said Munthali.
Political analyst Humphrey Mvula observed the events in DPP reflected a toxic relationship among party members. He warned that intimidating each other within the party will be counterproductive and the party maybe relegated into the dustbin of political history.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :