The erstwhile ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is now slowly heading into oblivion if the squabbles going on are anything to go by. The latest development is that the party’s vice president Kondwani Nankhumwa alongside the party’s Secretary General, Grezelder Jeffrey, have threatened to drag party President Peter Mutharika to court citing contempt of Court.
The threatened contempt of court charges comes hot on the heels of a High Court judgement delivered by Judge Simeon Mdeza which reinstated Nankhumwa and Jeffrey into the party and their positions after they were unceremoniously fired.
The reinstatement means that, wherever the party meets, the duo, as senior office holders in the party, must be participating in decision-making and party management. Unfortunately, the duo has been and continues to be side-lined, as evidenced by the party’s meeting yesterday at Peter Mutharika’s PAGE House in Mangochi.
“Our lawyers wrote Mutharika that proceeding with the meeting which excluded us was a clear contempt of court issue, but they proceeded. So, we will proceed with contempt,” said Nankhumwa in an interview.
On his part, Shadric Namalomba, Peter Mutharika’s spokesperson, claims that the party merely met for a technical committee meeting to discuss the Functional Review Report. He denied Nankhumwa’s claim that it was the central committee.
He said: “There wasn’t a central executive committee meeting as per the constitution. What we had was a technical working group to look at the Functional Review Report. The central executive committee is yet to be called.
“People should wait and will be called for that central executive committee meeting. We simply looked at the constitution and the Functional Review and after that is done, it’s when the Central Committee will be called.”
In the latter, dated 13 June 2022, Nankhumwa’s counsel, Cassius Chidothe, reminded Peter Mutharika, a law professor himself, of the ‘commonplace’ repercussions of court contempt.
Reads the letter in part: “Your excellency, by leaving out these two senior members of the committee in its activities, the party is committing acts of contempt whose consequences are common place.
“It has also come to our attention that the party has been and continues to organise and conduct rallies without involving the secretary general of the party. This is also against what was ordered by the court.”
Blantyre-based political analyst Ernest Thindwa observed that the DPP is on the verge of collapsing due to internal schisms, and further noted that the situation threatens to drive supporters away.
He said: “It affects DPP because it continues to be divided and it is a disincentive to followers of the DPP who may see their party disintegrating and may look for other avenues. It cannot go into the election as divided as it is.”