The Nankhumwa faction of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is all smiles after the breakaway grouping prevailed over the Madala team in a Leader of Opposition contest.
For a while now the party has been divided into halves. One camp is the Madala team led by the 83-year old leader Peter Mutharika who has been supported by fellow old guards like Francis Mphepo,Goodall Gondwe, George Chaponda and others.
On the other hand was the youthful squad led by the Southern Region Vice president Kondwani Nankhumwa who fell out with Mutharika after noticing that Mutharika is too tired to lead the party.
Nankhumwa went on to form a formidable force comprising young and energetic foot soldiers such as Ralph Jooma, Joyce Chitsulo, Mark Botomani, Nicholus Dausi and others to oust the old guards.
Apart for the misgivings of Mutharika’s tired mind, the Nankhumwa camp resisted Mutharika’s imposition of Chaponda as leader of opposition to replace Nankhumwa.
DPP has been at daggers drawn on this issue and they have been fighting in and outside the court. Although Nankhumwa has largely survived on Court’s mercy, he enjoys the support of the grassroot especially from the party’s stronghold in the southern region.
Now sensing imminent embarrassment as the 2023 convention approaches? the madala had swallowed the pride and surrendered themselves to the winning team in “if you can’t defeat them join them” fashion.
According to Press release signed by Shadric Namalomba, Mutharika’s Spokesperson, the madala team decided to retreat and accept Nankhumwa as Leader of opposition until the next elective conference next year
“DPP offered to withdraw the name of Dr Chaponda as Leader of Opposition. We asked the Court to direct as to the period within which to hold the fresh election, but Claimants refused to involve the internal party affairs-so we left it to the party to decide when to hold fresh elections for the Leader of Opposition,” said Namalomba.
There are reports that the two camps met and resolved to give peace a chance and bury the hatchet. But the truth is that what has happened is cosmetic and the Madala team have initiated the peace talks to save their faces.
And one can sense from the resigned tone of Namalomba that the war between the two camps has just been temporarily shelved for the latter days. There is still trouble ahead.