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Court favours Kondwani Nankhumwa

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The High Court in Lilongwe has sustained an injunction that 22 Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members of Parliament (MPs) obtained challenging the appointment of Mulanje South West legislator George Chaponda as Leader of Opposition.

Nankhumwa lawyer Michael Goba Chipeta confirmed the development.

In his ruling, Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda said in the meantime facts before the court weigh in favour of Nankhumwa who joined the case as a 23rd claimant and is the current Leader of Opposition.

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Nyirenda has also made the decision with regards to one of the prayers by the applicants that justice would be best served by the court by way of ordering the continuation of the order of interlocutory injunction that was granted to the legislators on June 28 2022.

“In view of the foregoing and by reason thereof, the justice of the case weighs heavily in favour of granting the order of interlocutory injunction being sought by the 23rd Claimant. Accordingly, the 3rd Application is granted and its validity will last until the determination of the main action herein or a further order by the court,” the judgement reads in part.

The court has since asked the parties to file with the court their respective statements of issues, witness statements and any other relevant documents or information in readiness for the mediation session not later than August 15 2022.

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“…it is important that such disputes should be tried and determined as soon as possible. Of course, the trial and determination has to be done in accordance with the applicable rules,” adds the ruling.

Meanwhile, Justice Nyirenda has reserved his ruling on an application that was brought before him on August 5 2022 by Chaponda’s lawyer Chimwemwe Sikwese who asked the court to set aside all proceedings that were commenced by Nankhumwa.

On the application in question, the court has determined that it will be heard and decided upon separately and is scheduled for August 18, 2022.

Sikwese said, they will respect the decision of the court on the case of the injunction and are ready to argue their case as it goes into mediation.

On June 26, 2022, a caucus of DPP president Peter Mutharika and 29 DPP lawmakers appointed Chaponda as Leader of Opposition in Parliament replacing Nankhumwa, who was not invited to the meeting.

This was the second time DPP has attempted to remove Nankhumwa from the position, after a similar move was foiled in October 2020 when Mutharika appointed the then MP for Nsanje Central Constituency Francis Kasaila.

Nankhumwa assumed the position soon after DPP was ousted from the government in June 2020.

Political analysts have warned that the infighting stands to weaken the party.

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