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DPP’s Leader of Opposition wrangles sorted—for now

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The Leader of Opposition battle in the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) seems to be over — for now.

This follows a resolution, through mediation, to allow Kondwani Nakhumwa continue in that capacity.

Nankhumwa’s occupancy of the role was thrown into turmoil three months ago when the party appointed George Chaponda to be Leader of Opposition at a meeting in Mangochi, in the presence of the party’s president Peter Mutharika.

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Upon election of Chaponda, Nankhumwa’s faction went to court, arguing, among other things, that the party had breached provisions governing the process on how it should pick who should be Leader of Opposition.

The faction argued that not all members of Parliament for the party were present at the meeting where Chaponda was elected.

The party’s lawyer, Charles Mhango, filed a challenge to the application by Nankhumwa’s group.

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Yesterday, however, Mhango withdrew the challenge, following a mediation presided over by Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda.

DPP’s presidential spokesperson Shadrick Namalomba said: “It is true that we have had a successful mediation which was presided over by Justice Kenyatta Nyirenda in Lilongwe on Friday.

“This means that the DPP has withdrawn the name of George Chaponda as Leader of Opposition. Instead, we have endorsed Hon. Kondwani Nankhumwa as a legitimate Leader of Opposition in Parliament.”

Namalomba said Nankhumwa will remain in that capacity until a time when the party holds fresh elections to name Leader of Opposition.

“When time is right, we will call for a meeting for all our members of Parliament as required by the law. During that meeting, we will hold elections in a free and fair manner to choose the Leader of Opposition.

“We will invite all the members and we will make sure that no candidate is endorsed prior to the elections,” Namalomba said.

He further said this development means that DPP is on the right route to clear all misunderstandings that have rocked the party and form a formidable force which will compete strongly in 2025 elections.

“This is also a lesson for us as a party that we should not be rushing to court when we have disagreements because this is affecting the party negatively,” Namalomba said.

Some of the DPP members which attended the mediation include organizing secretary Chimwemwe Chipungu, Ralph Jooma, Dyton Mussa and Nicholas Dausi.

Since it was booted out of power in June 20202, DPP has been rocked by divisions, largely hinging on who takes over the leadership of the party after Mutharika.

Those posturing to wrestle for the party’s presidency include Nankhumwa himself who is also DPP vice president for the South and former Reserve Bank of Malawi governor, Dalitso Kabambe.

Last month, Bright Msaka, the party’s vice president for the East, also announced his intention to contest at the party’s convention next year to be president of the party.

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