Nankhumwa, Namalomba issue conflicting statements on court case withdrawal

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Vice-president for the South, Kondwani Nankhumwa strongly asserts that he has “unconditionally withdrawn the defamation case” he filed through the court against four senior members and not against the Party itself.

This is in quite contrast to an earlier notice issued by Party spokesperson, Shadric Namalomba 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.

Mutharika pose with the six presidential aspirants after the meeting

Nankhumwa says this ‘defamation’ case against the four “is personal”, saying the meeting that he and the Party President Arthur Peter Mutharika had together with five other senior members “agreed that the status quo of ALL other cases that are before the courts” involving himself Gezelder Jeffrey, Jappie Mhango and Yusuf Nthenda against the party remain unchanged”.

The notice says the case that is against the decision to fire the four from the Party remain unchanged until Mutharika “agrees to hold a closed-door meeting with all of us in order to discuss matters relating to the cases”.

Nankhumwa, who is DPP’s Leader of Opposition, said the meeting he and fellow party presidential aspirants — Paul Gadama; Dr Dalitso Kabambe; David Mbera; Bright Msaka and Joseph Mwanamveka — had with Mutharika was conducted in a cordial and amiable environment.

“It is my hope that the fruits of this meeting will help to rebuild the party in readiness for the 2025 general elections,” he said.

However, Namalomba had issued a notice indicating that Nankhumwa had thrown in an olive branch with the DPP, which tried to remove him as Leader of Opposition and when he and the other three renegaded on this decision, they were fired from the Party leading to four to seek court intervention.

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 opposes to that to do with the whole party.

The statement says the meeting, which was 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”.

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 says all the presidential aspirants have further agreed to end all camps in the party and that all their media teams will 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 August this year, the DPP retained the four renegades back to the Party and their various positions but the four responded by asking for an audience with Mutharika to discuss the contents of the rescission letters.

The four had said they wanted to be clarified as a final resolution on a number of issues that they went to court for — which included “unlawful expulsion” and that during mediation the Party refused to accept their proposals and mediation collapsed.

The four had quoted a Court certificate of termination of Mediation and Referral Order as per the attached copy.

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.

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