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Deadlock in Kondwani Nankhumwa hearing

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ON SONG—Some of Nankhumwa’s sympathisers

The disciplinary hearing of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vice president for the Southern Region, Kondwani Nankhumwa, Friday ended prematurely in Lilongwe after he punched holes into the composition of the committee handling the cases.

Nankhumwa, who is seen as a major contender in the yet-to-be-announced DPP convention, was summoned over several allegations including undermining the authority of the party’s president Peter Mutharika over the appointment of Leader of Opposition in Parliament.

The party, through the committee, also questioned his academic qualifications as well as his alleged meetings other parties such as Malawi Congress Party (MCP) without the blessing of his party.

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His scheduled appearance before the committee drew some DPP supporters, who accompanied him alongside his lawyer Gilbert Khonyongwa to the venue of the hearing.

The supporters, dressed in new party branded T-shirts, turned on the hype by singing songs until Nankhumwa came out of the meeting.

Addressing the supporters, Nankhumwa said the meeting did not proceed after he raised preliminary objections on the composition of the committee, claiming there was conflict of interest among some members as the party is going towards convention.

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Nankhumwa said he has since asked the party to institute another committee if they are to proceed with the matter.

“I have asked them to go back to the party and have another committee that will look into the cases. We will not come unless there is another committee,” he said.

His lawyer Khonyongwa said Nankhumwa was given short notice to respond to the allegations.

According to sources, the committee composed of George Chaponda, Bright Msaka, Charles Mhango and Aaron Sangala.

Some top members of the party including Mark Botoman, Mulanje Bale member of Parliament, Victor Musowa, Sameer Suleman, Grace Kwelepete and Ralph Jooma rallied behind Nankhumwa during the hearing while wearing T-shirts branded ‘Hands Off Nankhumwa”.

On Thursday, Nankhumwa refuted allegations that he imposed himself as leader of opposition.

He said it was the party’s Secretary General Greselder Jeffrey who wrote the Office of the Speaker about his appointment as leader of opposition.

Commenting on the developments in the DPP, governance expert Henry Chingaipe said although what is happening in the party is quite healthy and expected, a quick way forward has to be found.

“The party is now engulfed in the politics of succession. We have seen this before in MCP,UDF, Aford. It is clear that Peter Mutharika is on his way out and that is causing a reconfiguration of power in the party. The earlier the party can attain a stable internal equilibrium, the better for itself and democracy,” Chingaipe said.

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