Some things will never change. Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader and former president Peter Mutharika has replaced Kondwani Nankhumwa as leader of opposition in Parliament with Dr George Chaponda as Leader of Opposition in Parliament.
Nyasa Times can reveal that Mutharika made the surprise changes Monday evening when Nankhumwa was already named Leader of Opposition earlier in the day.
The victory of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) in the Tuesday’s presidential elections meant that members from the MCP, formerly of Opposition, moved to the Government side. Consequently, members of the DPP have been pushed to the opposition benches.
It has also necessitated change in leadership positions, which the Speaker Catherine Gotani Hara confirmed when she entered into the chamber.
Among others, Hara announced that the newly appointed Minister of Homeland Security, Richard Chimwendo Banda will replace DPP’s Nankhumwa as Leader of the House.
“Following the communication the House has received from the Malawi Electoral Commission on the outcome of Tuesday’s election, the MCP will move to the Government side, which sits on the right hand side of the Speaker. Consequently, the DPP moves to the opposition benches.
“I have also received communication of the leadership of the following parties; Honourable Chimwendo Banda (as) Leader of the House; Honourable Kondwani Nankhumwa, Leader of DPP, who in this case will be the Leader of Opposition,” Hara said.
But Monday evening, Nyasa Times learnt from DPP that Mutharika has appointed another opposition leader.
“Mutharika has opted for Chaponda to be Leader of Opposition in Parliament and this will be announced Tuesday in Parliament. This has shocked everyone,” said our impeccable source close to the DPP hierarchy.
Chaponda is seen as Mutharika’s ‘best friend and contemporary’ and was booted out of the race to replace Mutharika a few years ago after he was implicated in the ‘maize-gate’ scandal only to be cleared by the courts later.
Nankhumwa replaced Chaponda as Leader of the House when Chaponda was fired from cabinet although Mutharika resisted his removal.
Many DPP supporters feel Nankhumwa is the politician who can sanitize the party following its ouster from government during the June 23 fresh presidential elections.
Other supporters are worried that Chaponda’s appointment as Leader of Opposition will further divide the party.
But DPP sources said Chaponda has been picked to “give MCP government hell in Parliament.”
Symon Vuwa Kaunda, who was Government Chief Whip in the DPP administration has since become the party’s Chief Whip.
The Speaker also announced that following the change in the country’s leadership, leadership in Constitutional Committees of the House will have to be changed, as the law dictates that they cannot be headed by Members from the Government side.
These committees include; Budget, Legal Affairs, Public Accounts, Public Appointments, Defence and Security and Government Assurance.
The House will resume on Tuesday when the newly appointed Minister of Finance, Felix Mlusu is expected to present a three-month provisional budget.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :