Former President Peter Mutharika says he is aggrieved that estranged Democratic Progress Party (DPP) presidential aspirant, Kondwani Nankhumwa has used a picture of his late brother, former Head of State Bingu wa Mutharika on a political poster.
In a statement dated January 3, APM — without directly mentioning Nankhumwa’s name but referring to a poster which Nyasa Times has in possession, APM is of the opinion that the “purpose of this callous action is to give the impression that the late Bingu would have endorsed this individual’s candidacy”.
As President of the DPP and head of the Mutharika family, I am distressed by this exploitation of our departed relative,” writes APM.
“I am therefore asking the individual concerned to withdraw this poster and to never post another one. On behalf of my family, I am asking this individual to respect Bingu’s soul and to let him Rest In Peace.”
The poster with a screaming headline ‘Kalikonse Mukaona in 2022’, quotes Bingu as saying “Power is never given on a silver platter. You must fight for it”.
APM, Nankhumwa and three other politicians — secretary-general Gelzeder Jeffrey; treasurer general Jappie Mhango and MP for Mulanje West Yusuf Nthenda — are at loggerheads over leadership of the party that surfaced when the former President tried to remove Nankhumwa as Parliament’s Leader of Opposition.
The four took to the courts to challenge their party president’s decision, which later was rescinded and were reinstated in their various posts.
In November, in what seemed to have been a reconciliatory meeting, turned out that the two leaders’ estrangement is far from over, when Nankhumwa — who is the party’s Vice-president for the South — strongly refuted a statement made after the meeting that he had “unconditionally withdrawn the defamation case” he filed through the court against four senior members of the party.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 “is 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” involving himself, Gezelder Jeffrey, Jappie Mhango and Yusuf Nthenda against the party remain unchanged”.
The notice had said the court case that was against the decision to fire the four from the Party remained unchanged until Mutharika “agrees to hold a closed-door meeting with all of us in order 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”.
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 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 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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :