Dust is refusing to settle in the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as the newly elected Leader of Opposition (LoP) George Chaponda has told those who are challenging his new status to quit the party.
The DPP’s self-proclaimed former rising star was recently elected the party’s new LoP thereby unseating Nankhumwa, the current LoP who recently moved to fire those who were challenging him in Parliament from their leadership positions in the National Assembly. Simon Vuwa Kaunda was among the people Nankhumwa sacked as DPP Chief Whip in Parliament.
It is yet to be seen how the Speaker of the National Assembly will react to the situation on whether they will maintain Nankhumwa as LoP following the court order that will render void proceedings that made Chaponda LoP as Nankhumwa as Vice President of the party in the South and the Party’s Secretary-General Geoffrey were not invited as senior members of the party’s politburo.
According to Parliament’s standing orders, the leader of the opposition is elected as stipulated under rule 35.
Standing order 35. (1) Stipulates that “the Leader of Opposition shall be elected by the party not in Government having the greatest numerical strength in Parliament at any point in time and officially announced as such by the Speaker. (2) Provided that where two or more political parties in opposition have equal number of Members: (a) The leaders of those political parties shall jointly convene a caucus to elect the Leader
of Opposition; (b) Following the election of the Leader of the Opposition, the successful candidate shall communicate his or her election to the Speaker who shall make an announcement in the Assembly to that effect.
Rule 36 proceeds that “the Leader of Opposition may only be removed by the party that elected him or her. Provided that where the Leader of Opposition was elected as in Rule 35 (2), the Opposition side in the Assembly may remove the Leader of the Opposition through a caucus of all Members of the Opposition side in the Assembly.”
So whether the DPP leadership has done right in removing the LoP and electing the new LoP in Chaponda will depend on the pronouncement by the Speaker of National Assembly Gotani when she receives the communication from DPP. The next sitting of Parliament will be held in mid-July next month.