At this point is difficult to understand whether the Democratic Progressive (DPP) is still a political party or a drama group. If the truth is to be told this group has provided more entertainment than any other drama groups in the country.
A week hardly passes these days without the DPP dishing out a comical episode. No wonder at one point, Public Affairs Committee (PAC) decided to meet the party leadership to remind them what is expected of them. PAC sensed that something was terribly wrong with the former ruling party.
Since the party was ousted from power, the DPP has failed to position itself as the alternative government. If not dragging each other to court then its fighting for the position of Leader of Opposition in Parliament. At the center of the row are the rebel leader Kondwani Nankhumwa who has vowed to wrestle power from the ageing Mutharika Peter Mutharika come hell or sunshine.
This month we have seen Kondwani Nankhumwa and his supporter-in-chief Grezeldar Jeffrey being sidelined for a high-level meeting which took place at Mutharika’s PAGE residence in Mangochi. The two cried foul and threatened to take legal action against Mutharika for contempt of court. Barely 24 hours later after this development, the High Court ruled in favour of Nankhumwa after Mangochi Malombe Member of Parliament Shadreck Namalomba sought court’s intervention on the legitimacy of Nankhumwa as the Leader of opposition.
Following the ruling, it did not take long before Nankhumwa effected some changes to align with his leadership. The changes saw Julius Chione Mwase and Victoria Kingstone being appointed DPP Whip and deputy Whip respectively, replacing Symon Vuwa Kaunda and Lonnie Chijere Chirwa.
The letter dated June 20 2022, addressing the Speaker of Parliament reads: “I have the hoonour to inform you that I have appointed Hon. Julius Chione Mwase as DPP Whip and Hon. Victoria Kingston as Deputy Whip in Parliament respectively. Hon Mwase and Kingston replaces Hon Vuwa Kaunda Lonnie Chijere Chirwa respectively. These appointments are with immediate effect.”
Although there is no one in the party to be considered credible enough to become the party President in the future owing to the fact that they are all dented with corruption, at least there are names good enough to fill some positions in parliament like the party Whip which, all things being equal, one would not have expected Mwase to come anywhere near this position. Nankhumwa overlooked people like George Chaponda, Bright Msaka, Joseph Mwanamveka and others.
However, it was not surprising that Nankhumwa did not bother about these people in the first because earlier in the year they declined their appointments in Nankhumwa’s shadow cabinet and they are Mutharika’s loyalists through and through which makes their appointment out of question.
In a twist of events albeit expected, on Sunday June 26, 2022 DPP Members of Parliament converged again at Mutharika’s lakeshore house where through a vote they ousted Nankhumwa as the Leader of Opposition and installed George Chaponda to the position. The parliamentarians also settled for Vuwa Kaunda and Victoria Kingstone as Whip and deputy Whip respectively.
When news broke out that parliamentarians were to dethrone him, the embattled Vice President of Southern region threatened to sue Mutharika for another contempt of court. It remains to be seen if indeed Nankhumwa will drag the party leader to court. Whatever twist to the tale, the party seem more divided than before. The reality is that the DPP for the past two years has failed to live up to its name, the party has not been progressive enough, if anything it has only been moving in circles chasing its own shadows. Not a healthy situation for an opposition party which is supposed to bring checks to the government.