Newly appointed People’s Party (PP) third vice-president Kamlepo Kalua has dragged governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) into his party’s leadership wrangle, accusing it of sponsoring an injunction stopping the appointment of Uladi Mussa as acting president.
Five PP members, including national organising secretary Salim Bagus, on Wednesday obtained a court order blocking the appointments of Mussa and Kalua, which they argue were solely made by party president Joyce Banda.
Putting up their case, the PP members accuse Banda of continuing to violate the party’s constitution.
However Kalua, who has been attacking the DPP administration on mismanagement of funds, yesterday claimed he was the target of the injunction. He also alleged that DPP officials released K30 million (about $43 614) to the PP members to fight him so that he finds no room to attack the DPP administration.
Kalua, who is also Rumphi East member of Parliament (MP), alleged that the inclusion of Banda and Mussa in the application is meant to hoodwink the public. He claimed that his appointment has shaken the DPP administration, hence the moves to silence him.
He said if the PP members wanted to get an injunction against Banda, they would have sought it way back when several appointments were made.
Reacting to Kalua’s claims, Bagus said the current battle has nothing to do with DPP or any government official. He also said it is not a personal battle against Kalua or anybody, but protecting the party’s constitution.
He said all they want is for Banda to respect the constitution. He said Banda does not have powers to make appointments on her own.
Said Bagus: “By making the appointment, she was violating the constitution. PP has got many vacancies, but there is need to look at what the constitution says.”
DPP spokesperson Francis Kasaila, who is also Minister of Transport and Public Works, dismissed Kalua’s assertions. He said the claims are baseless and there is nothing serious that people can take from Kalua.
In a democracy, observed Kasaila, PP members have the right to take their leaders to task where they feel things have gone out of place. He said DPP should not be dragged into a PP battle, adding DPP does not even know when Kalua joined PP to enable him to rise to that position.
He conceded that Kalua has been making serious allegations against DPP, but said he failed to come up with evidence on the alleged K92 billion fraud during the first DPP administration led by the late Bingu wa Mutharika.
PP, which rose to power in April 2012 after its president, Banda, ascended to the presidency in line with constitutional order following Bingu’s death, lost the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections.
During the elections, Banda came third after winner Peter Mutharika of DPP and second-placed Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) in the presidential race.
PP got 26 seats in the 193-member National Assembly distributed as follows: 14 in the Northern Region, eight in the Southern Region and four in the Central Region. n