The Parliament building was a stage for high drama on Wednesday morning as the battle for recognition as the Leader of the Opposition unfolded between Kondwani Nankhumwa and George Chaponda.
As both Nankhumwa and Chaponda arrived to stake their claim as Leaders of the Opposition at the Business Committee meeting, tensions flared. Chaponda, having arrived earlier, had already claimed a seat designated for the LoP. The Business Committee of Parliament consists of key figures from both the government and opposition, tasked with making arrangements prior to the State President’s opening of the Parliamentary session, as is the case here. During active sessions, the committee deliberates and reaches consensus on the agenda to be presented in the house for the following day’s proceedings.
In a swift and decisive move, authorities ejected Chaponda from the meeting due to an injunction obtained by Nankhumwa. Chaponda, tight-lipped on the matter, delegated Neno North MP Thoko Tembo to address the press. Tembo revealed that Chaponda attended the meeting as the invited Leader of the Opposition and was taken aback by Nankhumwa’s simultaneous invitation.
Tembo explained that Chaponda is pursuing legal action to contest the injunction preventing him from assuming the role of Leader of the Opposition. He stressed the necessity of lifting the injunction to ensure proper representation within the opposition ranks and to facilitate the smooth progress of parliamentary business.
“The injunction will have to be challenged so that we have the right Leader of Opposition in place,” Tembo said.
Tembo laments the prospect of Parliament commencing its proceedings without a designated Leader of the Opposition from the DPP, deeming it a regrettable scenario.
Meanwhile, Nankhumwa has taken legal action to contest his dismissal from the DPP, arguing that the process lacked procedural fairness.