- Nankhumwa others get injunction
- Analysts say DPP’s decision spells doom
Four senior officials expelled from the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have obtained an injunction against the party’s decision.
The party expelled vice-president (South) Kondwani Nankhumwa, who is also leader of opposition (LoP) in Parliament, secretary general Grezelder Jeffrey, treasurer general Jappie Mhango and Mulanje West legislator Yusuf Nthenda on Friday for alleged indiscipline.
But through lawyer Gilbert Khonyongwa, the four sought an injunction restraining the party from implementing any decision made during the central committee meeting held at party leader Peter Mutharika’s beachside villa.
High Court Judge Charles Ching’anya Mkandawire granted the stay order yesterday in Lilongwe, freeing the four from expulsion.
It reads: “It is ordered that the defendants refrain from the following: Implementing the decision to expelling the Claimants from the party and their respective positions. Proceeding with the intended election of a Leader of Opposition; and
“Recognising and acknowledging the purported replacements of the Claimants’ posts as secretary general, vice-president and treasurer general respectively. If you disobey this order, you may be found guilty of contempt of court and may be sent to prison or fined or your assets may be seized.”
In an interview, Nankhumwa said he will proceed with his rally at Desert Ground in Bangwe, Blantyre today where he is expected to engage party supporters on the direction that the Blue Camp needs to take.
But DPP spokesperson Brown Mpinganjira said the party was yet to be served with the said stay order.
Meanwhile, political and administrative studies lecturer at Chancellor College Mustafa Hussein said the decision spells doom for DPP.
He said resorting to firing people is a sign of factionalism, division, and that there are people that do not believe in democratic means of resolving conflicts.
Said Hussein: “It’s a disaster! It spells doom for DPP because it’s political intolerance at its highest order and it shows failure on the part of leaders to resolve issues within the party amicably. These people have their admirers, sympathisers and others may leave the party because of these signs of political intolerance.
“These people have been there for the party, what they were trying to do was to follow democratic means of choosing leadership rather than using unilateral means of appointing people. It’s a worrisome development and may lead to further weakening of the opposition in the country.”
Political analyst Ernest Thindwa argued the decision by the central committee defeats the whole essence of natural justice as the four were not summoned to be heard.
He said the DPP is feeling the effects of lacking intra-party democracy, which is making it difficult for the erstwhile ruling party to find a successor to Mutharika.
“You see the party is disintegrating because the process does not lend itself amenable to democratic contestation of the leadership positions as a result, Mutharika wants to be replaced by a person whom he favours. This is what is creating tension.
“DPP’s future is bleak. It is taking the same path that United Democratic Front and Alliance for Democracy took and we know where these two parties are now. The lack of holding conventions and NGC meeting also speaks of lack of democratic principles because party rules are not respected,” explained Thindwa.
Just like Hussein, Thindwa
said the decision can be legally challenged as what the party has done is illegal and cannot go unchecked.
He added: “If they want to remain within DPP, they can do that because their firing is not logical and I want to believe that it can legally be challenged because the process is flawed.
“But reality on the ground is that these people will have difficulties as long as Mutharika remains the leader of DPP. What you see is a DPP weakening. The loser is DPP and its following, but also Malawi because you want to see a strong opposition keeping government in check.”
University of Livingstonia based socio-political and rights activist George Phiri said DPP is headed for doom.
He said: “What the party is saying is that it does not want to listen to people; that Mutharika does not understand what democracy means, because in it, people are free to express their mind.
“If the party is not ready for a convention, they should just have said so, not firing people. DPP needs a convention now because its image is dented with corruption, so it needs new leadership to start afresh, leaders that can bring transformation.”