The political infighting in the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) took another twist Wednesday when two lawmakers claiming to be DPP chief whips reported for work in the Business Committee of Parliament.
Reinstated Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa came to the Business Committee Meeting with his newly appointed Chief Whip, Julius Mwase, while another DPP Chief Whip, Symon Vuwa Kaunda, also reported for the meeting.
Both DPP chief whips entered the meeting during the morning session but were, alongside Nankhumwa, sent out a few minutes later.
After staying out for close to an hour, the three were later allowed to rejoin the meeting a few minutes before participants adjourned for lunch break.
Sources who attended the meeting confided in The Daily Times that the committee had to consult Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda for a legal opinion on the matter.
“People in the meeting had to consult the AG. The main issue concerned the two whips, not the Leader of Opposition. The main issue was about which leadership to communicate on the whips’ choice,” the source said.
Shortly after members of the committee had reconvened for the meeting at 1pm, Vuwa Kaunda was seen moving out of the House and later confirmed that he was, indeed, sent out of the meeting.
Nankhumwa attended the meeting after being reinstated through an injunction that some DPP legislators obtained against the appointment of George Chaponda as the new Leader of Opposition.
Before the injunction was obtained, Clerk of Parliament Fiona Kalemba had formally invited Chaponda, who was appointed by another section of DPP members, to the Business Committee Meeting after he was appointed as opposition leader at the house of former president Peter Mutharika recently.
However, after the court granted the injunction, Parliament invited Nankhumwa as the Leader of the Opposition.
Wednesday, University of Malawi-based political analyst Mustapha Hussein described the situation as unfortunate.
“What is happening in the DPP will continue to weaken the performance of the party and, if this continues in the coming years, it may cost them a lot because they, as a party in opposition, are supposed to show their readiness to rule the country and, as such, their failure to resolve internal conflicts shows a weakness of the party,” he said.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.