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Kondwani Nankhumwa joins George Chaponda case

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George Chaponda

The High Court sitting in Blantyre Thursday ordered Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa to join a case in which some DPP members of Parliament (MPs) are challenging the election of George Chaponda as Leader of Opposition in Parliament.

Through lawyer Cassius Chidothe, Nankhumwa is challenging the election of Chaponda, days after some DPP MPs got a court order in Lilongwe stopping Chaponda from acting in the new role.

Chidothe said Judge Mandala Mambulasa noted that Nankhumwa was already reinstated as Leader of Opposition in Parliament by an ex-parte court order the lawmakers obtained in Lilongwe.

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“The judge said there was a similar case in Lilongwe arising from the same developments in the DPP and that there was no need to have two different court processes challenging the same election,” he said, adding that Nankhumwa’s case file will be transferred to Lilongwe to be joined with the initial case before Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda.

On June 28 this year, some MPs obtained an injunction stopping Chaponda from acting in, or holding the, position of Leader of Opposition he was ushered into at former president Peter Mutharika’s Page House in Mangochi.

Granting the injunction, Nyirenda set July 7 as the day when he would hear both parties in the matter.

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“The first defendant, Hon Dr George Chaponda, MP, is hereby restrained from acting or holding out as Leader of Opposition in or outside Malawi Parliament.

“The second defendant is hereby restrained from recognising the first defendant as Leader of Opposition from its party. The second defendant is hereby further restrained from implementing its decision of electing the first defendant as Leader of Opposition for Malawi Parliament,” the injunction reads.

Chaponda’s election on Sunday was held despite attempts by Nankhumwa to stop the meeting.

The development prompted Parliament secretariat to move back and forth as it invited Chaponda to a preparatory business meeting for the 6th meeting of the 49th session of Parliament held on June 29.

Parliament later withdrew the invitation and invited Nankhumwa, who the court had reinstated.

University of Malawi-based political analyst Mustapha Hussein described the situation as unfortunate, saying never-ending wrangles would weaken the party.

“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.

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