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Cracks widen in opposition DPP

kondwani nankhumwa

Francis Mphepo

Cracks are widening in the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) following a decision by the party to disown the parliamentary shadow cabinet announced by Leader of Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa last week.

In a statement issued Sunday, DPP, through its administrative secretary Francis Mphepo, says it does not recognise the presence of a shadow cabinet in the National Assembly.

However, Nankhumwa said he was not moved by the statement from the party.

Ironically, this is not the first time the party is appointing a shadow cabinet in Parliament, the last of which was dissolved just last week.

Mphepo says the party was not consulted on the issue of shadow cabinet appointment, adding that those appointed in the shadow cabinet have no authority to speak on behalf of the party in the National Assembly.

“The DPP appointed its parliamentary spokespersons on specific matters like economy, legal affairs, health, agriculture etc,.

“The DPP believes the shadow cabinet serves no purpose in a hybrid government system of presidential and parliamentary system practiced in Malawi,” Mphepo indicates.

Asked whether he would dissolve his shadow cabinet, Nankhumwa said that was out of the question.

“No. Big no. Shadow cabinet is [a] parliamentary [thing and] not otherwise,” Nankhumwa said.

Parliament spokesperson Ian Mwenye said having a shadow cabinet is a practice in the august House.

“It is not in the Standing Orders but [is] a practice of the House. As you may be aware, apart from Standing Orders, the House is also guided by practices,” Mwenye said.

University of Malawi political analyst Ernest Thindwa said the latest DPP episode sheds light on the unsettled and ever evolving leadership contestation within the party.

Thindwa said the disagreements expose either ineffective or the absence of internal conflict resolution mechanisms.

“It does suggest that democracy has not taken root in DPP such that various individuals and factions with interest to compete for the party leadership position are not being provided with an open and even platform from which they can launch their bid for the party presidency.

“Such individuals and factions are resorting to alternative ways to make a decisive claim over the party leadership contest,” Thindwa said.

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