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HRDC demands action on Leader of Opposition

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Kondwani Nankhumwa

The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has asked the Speaker of the National Assembly to swiftly resolve the confusion surrounding the position of Leader of Opposition.

The development comes after it emerged that the current Leader of Opposition, Kondwani Nankhumwa, was summoned to a disciplinary hearing last Friday for allegedly imposing himself on the position.

According to a letter summoning Nankhumwa to the hearing, DPP President Peter Mutharika had chosen George Chaponda as Leader of Opposition with Nankhumwa as the party’s Chief Whip.

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But, the letter stated, Nankhumwa communicated with Parliament that he had been appointed for the position.

Reacting to the development, HRDC Chairperson, Gift Trapence, said Parliament is a very serious institution which should not tolerate “such childishness”.

“It means Parliament was cheated on the issue of Leader of Opposition. It means currently, we don’t have a legitimate Leader of Opposition.

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“Parliament needs to strongly condemn such behaviour to avoid a reccurrence in future. We appeal to the office of the Speaker to resolve the matter once and for all,” Trapence said.

He also wondered why DPP took so long to bring the matter to light, saying Nankhumwa was declared as Leader of Opposition some two months ago.

According to Trapence, taking so long to act on issues smacks of leadership problems in DPP.

Speaker of Parliament, Catherine Gotani Hara and Parliament Spokesperson, Ian Mwenye, could not be reached for a comment yesterday.

On Friday, a scheduled disciplinary committee meeting for Nankhumwa failed to proceed in Lilongwe after he objected to the composition of the panel.

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

Nankhumwa asked the party to institute another committee if they were to proceed with the matter.

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

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

Nankhumwa on Thursday said it was the party’s Secretary, General Grezelder Jeffrey, who wrote the Office of the Speaker about his appointment as Leader of Opposition.

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