Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Nankhumwa, Jeffrey lose case; assignment to other portfolios by APM was legal

Kondwani Nankhuma; floored

High Court Judge Howard Pemba has put spanners in Kondwani Nankhumw’a political ambitions of ever becoming Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) President as his ruling released on Thursday has strengthened the Madala DPP camp where Peter Mutharika, seeking to be Presidential candidate in 2025, belongs.

What happened was that Grezelder Jeffrey, Kondwani Nankhumwa,  and Cecelia Chazama had been serving as the Secretary General, Vice president South and Director of Women respectively for the DPP until early this month when they were assigned to other positions by Peter Mutharika. As a matter of fact, Jeffrey was assigned to the position of Vice President Central and she received her letter and notice of communication to that effect on 8th December 2023.

Among other things, the claimants sought an interlocutory order suspending the decision of Peter Mutharika to remove them from their positions as Secretary General, Vice President South and Director of women of the party and/or assign them to the positions of Vice President Central, and presidential advisors until the determination of the matter in court or a further order of the Court .

“Listening to the arguments from both parties, and having thoroughly read the skeleton arguments motivated by the Sworn Statements filed in support as well as in opposition to the application herein, this Court is convinced on the balance of probabilities that the Claimants have failed to convincingly demonstrate to this Court that they have a good and arguable claim against the Defendants,” in part reads the ruling of the court..

He added:

“I have already made my finding that the Claimants herein have not been

removed from their positions nor from the party. They are still members of the

3rd Defendant political party. What has happened according to the wording of

Article 10 (8) is that they have been assigned different positions from the ones

they were holding in the NGC of the 3rd Defendant. There is nothing substantial

either showing that what has happened is a demotion as the Claimants want this

Court to believe.

“I have gone through Article 10(8) of the 3rd Defendant’s Constitution and the clear wording of it is that the President has powers to assign a member of an NGC to any public or political office. The Claimants herein were members of the NGC by virtue of being the Secretary General, Vice president South and Director of Women of the 3rd Defendant respectively. Right now, they have been assigned to other positions of a Vice president Central and Presidential advisors within the same NGC. The Claimants would like to bring in some conditions to Article 10 (8) which do not exist. Going through the 3rd Defendant’s Constitution, there is no any subjection of Article 10 (8) to any other condition or Article within the Constitution. If the framers of the 3rd Defendant’s Constitution wanted Article 10 (8) to be subjected to any other condition such as that the member should be heard before being assigned to another position or that reasons should be given for the assignment; or that the Article should not be applicable to an elected position; and that it should only apply where the party is in government, the same would have been specifically included in the Constitution.”

Concluded the court:

“On account of the reasons above, I am of the strong view that the balance of justice and convenience militates against the grant of the order of the interlocutory injunction sought by the Claimants. The Claimants’ application is accordingly dismissed with costs.”

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