Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) treasurer general, Jappie Mhango — who together with the party’s vice-president for the South Kondwani Nankhumwa, secretary-general Gelzeder Jeffrey and MP for Mulanje West Yusuf Nthenda took the party to court over leadership feud — has withdrawn from the legal proceedings.
In a statement, Mhango — who is Member of Parliament for Rumphi North — says they went to court after DPP’s Central Committee expelled him and the three others and thus sought the court’ relief on the “premise that the decision was made without hearing our side of the story”.
“Over this time, a number of developments have taken place — one of which was the rescission of the Central Committee decision that essentially reinstated each one of us back to our Party positions,” Mhango said.
“The decision was to me part of the reconciliation process. What has been bothering me is that instead of moving on after the reinstatement, we have not moved 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. 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.
“By copy of this letter, the legal is advised to act accordingly,” said the treasurer general, who is former Health Minister in Mutharika’s administration.
APM fired Nankhumwa, Jeffrey, Mhango and Nthenda when they disputed his decision to replace the DPP vice-president as Leader of Opposition in Parliament.
The four took to the court to challenge their party president’s decision, which later was rescinded and were reinstated in their various posts.
In November last year, in what seemed to have been a reconciliatory meeting, it turned out that APM’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was far from over, when Nankhumwa strongly refuted a statement made after the meeting that he had “unconditionally withdrawn the defamation case” he filed through the court against four senior members of the party.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.
Namalomba had said the meeting, which he described as “a special day in the history of the mighty Democratic Progressive Party”, was held as Mutharika’s “desire and commitment to rebuild the party” and that the five DPP presidential aspirants were reunited “as a sign of reconciliation and to complement the spirit of unity preached by Mutharika”.
“All aspirants have pledged to serve and recognize the authority and leadership” of Mutharika as Party president and that they have “agreed to shelve their presidential ambitions and to stop any campaign until at a time when the convention will be announced”.
Namalomba also said all the presidential aspirants had further agreed to end all camps in the party and that all their media teams would be merged into one team for the party to be led by him as the party spokesperson.
The meeting also resolved that all business in Parliament shall be guided by Mutharika through Nankhumwa as Leader of Opposition and that Mutharika shall hold a rally soon together with all the aspirants.
In recent weeks, Nankhumwa continues to court controversy within the party when he forced APM to demand a retraction of a political poster on which Nankhumwa 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 this individual’s candidacy”.
APM 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.
The poster — with a screaming headline ‘Kalikonse Mukaona in 2022’ — quoted Bingu as saying “Power is never given on a silver platter. You must fight for it”.
Soon after APM issued the statement, DPP presidential aspirant David Mbewe and two other MPs, Sameer Suleman and Joyce Chitsulo, posted their own posters with Bingu’s picture.
Last week, APM 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.
The DPP saw it as Nankhumwa trying to gain political mileage, and in a statement Namalomba said APM disputes and rejects 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.
Thus APM, through Namalomba maintained that any person who claims to be a sibling to the Mutharika family — including Kalani Thom — is “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 Namalomba for describing him as an impostor.
But Namalomba said he will not apologize to anyone, saying he stood by his statement and maintained he was ready to face the Kalani Thom family in court.
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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :