DPP reinstates 4 top officials, Nankhumwa, others react

Kondwani Nankhumwa

Malawi's main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has rescinded its decision to remove its leader in Parliament and vice president for the South Kondwani Nankhumwa, Secretary General Grezelda Jeffrey, Treasurer General Jappie Mhango and Member of Parliament Yusuf Nthenda.

The four were removed from the party and their positions on 2nd of October 2020 by the Central Executive Committee for disobeying the party leadership to put Francis Kasaila as leader of opposition in parliament.

In separate letters dated 10th of August 2021, party administrative secretary Francis Mphepo, said they came to the decision to bring them back on the understanding they will resume their duties in their respective positions.

Mphepo also said the decision is on understanding the four will abide by the Constitution of the party and respect the leadership of the party.

The two groups have been in protracted legal battles following the firing of the Nankhumwa camp.

Nankhumwa and others took an injunction to stop their expulsion but later withdrew after they agree to quash their differences ad opted for dialogue.

Negotiations broke down in April 2021 leading to Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda to give directions for a full trial.

The High Court had scheduled August 25, 2021 for trial where Judge Simeon Mdeza was going to look into 10 issues the court had identified as sticky in the expulsion.

Reaction to the letters

Nankhumwa acknowledged receiving the letter from the party but said they will have to sit down on Monday to discuss their way forward.

He pointed out there are some unresolved issues to be addressed before they can put out their position.

MP Nthenda also confirmed receiving the letter but has expressed pessimism over the way it has been handled saying Mphepo signed the letter and not Mutharika.

He explained the first letter was signed by Mutharika himself and the communication to bring them back should have been his doing as well.

Mphepo is of the opinion they should fast track the party's convention in order to give the masses hope and not wait for 2023.

At his birthday party last month, Mutharika said he was being accused of clinging to the party but pointed out he wanted proper transition.

A review of the party after it fell from power to look into how they will go forward recommended to do away with the divisions.

Political analysts have commended the party for bring the four influential people back in their fold but say there is more to be done.

University of Malawi political scientist, Blessings Chinsinga said the party needs to take the review recommendations seriously and not to use half backed measures.

He emphasised the legal battle may be over but the political battle still remain as they have to put differences aside and rally together if they are to have any real chance in 2025.