Things Fall Apart. The central committee of the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Friday fired four of its senior lieutenants, for alleged indiscipline.
The four are party vice-president’s (South)Kondwani Nankhumwa, secretary general Grezelder Jeffrey, treasurer general Jappie Mhango and Mulanje West legislator Yusuf Nthenda.
The decision to fire the four was made at the former president Peter Mutharika’s retirement home in Mangochi.
But in a brief interview last night, Nankhumwa said while he was yet to get formal communication from the politburo on its decision, the charges were laughable.
He said: “The charges are laughable, but let me not say much now, we wait for formal communication from the party. I am surprised that they keep on not inviting me to the central committee, because that forum has its people.
“You can’t just get any other people into that committee, it has its people. But let them communicate, and we will make our decision based on what has happened.”
According to DPP’s Constitution, the central committee comprises the president, four vice-presidents, secretary general, treasurer general, and national directors of women and youth.
In the absence of Nankhumwa, Mhango and Jeffrey, it means the committee only had Mutharika, the three vice-presidents and national directors of women and youth.
Nankhumwa was recently summoned to the party’s disciplinary hearing over his academic credentials and that he allegedly imposed himself as Leader of Opposition in Parliament, but the hearing did not take place.
Like Nankhumwa, Mhango also expressed surprise at his being snubbed from attending the central committee meetings.
He said he will comment on the firing after receiving an official letter.
On his part, Nthenda, who is accused of opposing Francis Kasaila’s name in Parliament as communicated by Mutharika, described the decision as unfortunate.
“I have just been getting the news from social media, so I will ably comment when I am formally communicated and after looking at who has written the communication. I can only give you a better answer when I get the letter and also after seeking legal advice.
“If it is indeed true that they have expelled me based on the grounds you have mentioned then it is very unfortunate and I wonder as to whether the legal team in DPP is working because I think there is lack of understanding of the laws,” he said.
Jeffrey also said she would decide on the next course of action after receiving the letter, but confirmed to have suspended a national governing council (NGC) meeting she had summoned in Lilongwe. It was supposed to be held today.
The bone of contention in DPP started when she told our sister paper, The Nation that Mutharika had done his part, and the party needed a new person to lead it into the future.
Said Jeffrey: “Whether we like it or not, a convention is important, and we will hold it as a party. But we will not do it today or tomorrow, when the time comes, we will let you know.
“The party now needs to meet and discuss the matter. Professor Mutharika has done his part and he will not contest again in future, he is retiring and we need to choose a new leader.
What DPP constitution says under Article 9(9)
The DPP constitution provides that the central committee may remove a member of the NGC from his or her position on recommendation from the disciplinary committee.
Meanwhile, Mutharika has said he is not clinging to power but wants proper leadership transition in his party.
Mutharika is at loggerheads with some party members who want him to step down from leading the former ruling party ousted from power in the June 23 court sanctioned presidential elections.
“I am not clinging to the position of party president but I want a proper transition. No one should just highjack the party.
“The party has instituted the functional review committee which will conduct research on why the party performed poorly [in June 23 fresh presidential election] and make other findings. They will deliver the report to me by October 31,” he said.
Mutharika said after the findings, the NGC will set a date for a convention where office-bearers will be elected.
“I will not impose any candidate but people will contest fairly and I will support anyone who will win,” he said.
The former president said this at his retirement home in Mangochi after the central committee had agreed to fire Nankhumwa.
Mutharika, who said presided over the meeting, met journalists briefly to inform them that he indorsed the decision of the committee.
New party leadership
Nankhumwa, who is the Leader of Opposition in Parliament and is heading a camp calling for Mutharika’s ouster, has since been replaced by Joseph Mwanamvekha as vice-president for the South.
While Jeffrey has been replaced by Samuel Tembenu as SG.
Also expelled from the party is Yusuf Nthenda, Mulanje North legislator, who is accused of defying the party in Parliament when he opposed imposition of Francis Kasaila as Leader of Opposition in Parliament and Jappie Mhango, who is the party’s treasurer general. Mhango has been replaced by Nick Masebo.
The meeting, that started at 10am ended at 4pm.
The party’s spokesperson Brown Mpinganjira, who addressed journalists at APM’s home after the meeting said the firing means the four cannot conduct any political rally or meeting in the name of DPP.
He said: “The four are hereby not allowed to use the party emblems or convene any meeting in the name of the party.
“We heard that some [Jeffrey] wanted to hold an [NGC] meeting on Saturday [today] in Lilongwe, but they cannot as they are no longer members of the party.”
Mpinganjira was flanked by He was flanked by Charles Mhango, Cecilia Chazama, Francis Mphepo, Mwanamvekha, Uladi Mussa, Tembenu and Bright Msaka.
Mpinganjira said the Central Committee has also reaffirmed its decision that Kasaila should be Leader of Opposition in Parliament.
Responding to questions, Mhango said Nankhumwa was found guilty by the disciplinary committee last week.
“He undermined the disciplinary committee, which is indiscipline on its own,” he said.
On the issue of Leader of Opposition, Tembenu said it was out of order for the Deputy Speaker to advise DPP members of Parliament to agree on who should be Leader of Opposition.
“It is the party that chooses a person to be Leader of Opposition and it gives the name to Parliament,” he said.
In his remarks, Msaka said the election that was held at Parliament on Thursday where DPP elected Nankhumwa as Leader of Opposition was against the party’s constitution.
“What was funny was that I was not there and the one who nominated me has apologised for not consulting me. The same as Kasaila, he was not there,” he said.