Speaker of Parliament, Catherine Gotani Hara, has announced that Kondwani Nankhumwa is the Leader of Opposition in Parliament having been satisfied with the procedure in which DPP elected him to the position.
According to the Speaker, DPP Secretary General, Grezeldar Jeffrey, submitted all documents to back up the election of Nankhumwa citing a court case of JZU vs Attorney General who represented the Speaker in that case where the Court said, “the election of the Leader of Opposition is solely for Members of Parliament of the largest party in Parliament”.
Nankhumwa’s election to the position has brought mixed reactions with Blantyre City South legislator Noel Lipipa yesterday rebuking his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) colleagues for electing Nankhumwa as Leader of Opposition in Parliament against the guidance of the party’s president Professor Peter Mutharika.
On Wednesday, DPP’s Central Governing Committee resolved of removing Kondwani Nankhumwa as Leader of Opposition in light of various accusations leveled against him on how he ascended to the seat.
However the decision by Mutharika to replace the embattled Nankhumwa with Francis Kasaila as Leader of Opposition led to disagreements in the party with a significant number of DPP legislators throwing their weight behind Nankhumwa.
On Thursday, the party’s Secretary General, Grezelder Jeffrey convened a meeting to elect the leader of opposition of the house which saw Nankhumwa carrying the day with 38 votes against Kasaila who got four votes and Bright Msaka a single vote.
Writing on his Facebook wall, Lipipa said DPP legislators must respect rule of law and what happened on Thursday is contrary.
“This morning I chose not to participate in the so called “Election” organised by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators to choose Leader of Opposition in Parliament, for the very simple reason that the Parliamentary Standing Order 35 (1) reads ‘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.”
“Parliamentary Standing Order 36 reads ‘the Leader of Opposition may only be removed by the party that elected him or her,” said Lipipa quoting the Constitution.
Brown Mpinganjira, DPP spokesperson communicated to the press that the action taken by DPP legislators in Parliament could best be summarised as flouting of procedures or misquoting of the Constitution.
However it remains to be seen what the DPP will take as it’s next course of action with the Speaker’s announcement.