BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has swallowed its pride and reversed the dismissals of four senior leaders, including secretary general Greselder Jeffery and vice-president (South) Kondwani Nankhumwa.
The letters communicating the reversals come days before Nankhumwa, Greselder and two others face the DPP leadership under Peter Mutharika in court on 10 crucial issues, including the issue of holding a convention.
A letter to treasurer general Jappie Mhango, signed by administrative secretary Francis Mphepo, re-engages the four back into the party and their positions.
“I refer to the letter dated 2nd October 2020 communicating the decision of the resolution of the central executive committee to expel you from the party. I am now pleased to advise that that the central committee has resolved to rescind the said decision expelling you from the party.
“You are hereby informed that you are welcome back into the party as a full member of the party and to your original position as treasurer general of the party,” reads the letter in part
It added, “The central committee arrived at the above decision on the understanding that upon your return to the party, and your resumption of your duties as treasure general, you shall abide by the party constitution and shall respect the leadership of the party.”
On October 3 2020, Nankhumwa, Jeffrey, Mhango and Mulanje West legislator Yusuf Nthenda obtained an injunction stopping DPP from sacking them from their positions and expelling them from the party.
The four were fired for allegedly influencing the rejection of DPP leader Peter Mutharika’s appointment of former Nsanje Central legislator Francis Kasaila as Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LoP) to replace Nankhumwa.
The two sides later agreed to settle their differences through a mediation process, but the talks collapsed in April this year, forcing High Court of Malawi Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda—who led the negotiations—to refer the case for full trial.
In a report on the process, Nyirenda said the full trial, set to start August 25, should address 10 sticky issues.
DPP has reversed the decision to expel the four and wants them back in the fold without necessarily stating reasons for the decision.
Nthenda confirmed treceiving a letter, but said he had reservations. He said it looks more of politics than what was ideal.
“The letter on expulsion came from the [party] president himself, but this one has been signed by Mr. Mphepo. I know it is because of the court case which is coming.
“We will sit down, think about it and respond accordingly. What we want is an early convention and they want to ignore that. I don’t think we will give in to that,” he said.
Mhango and Nankhumwa also confirmed receiving the letters detailing the party’s decision to get them back.
Said Nankhumwa: “I have received the letter, but we will meet on Monday [today] to look at them because there are a few issues to be looked into.”
Mphepo and party spokesperson Brown Mpinganjira did not pick up their calls on several attempts.
University of Malawi political scientist Professor Blessings Chinsinga told The Nation News paper that DPP reaction was based on the court case.
“The party knows what is coming ahead and that maybe the court may align with the others. Even so, it still requires a political solution to have the issues in DPP resolved. It is late for the DPP, but as they say, better late than never,” he said.
Chinsinga further said it is a good idea that the DPP has made that decision and the process might be the beginning of conflict resolution.
“I wouldn’t say the party is trying to be clever on the four, because if they were, they should have made such decisions long time ago.
“For me, this is a knee-jerk reaction and may not necessarily help them rebuild the party. If they were very clever, they should have used the Functional Review report to clean up the mess,” he said.
DPP lost in the court-ordered fresh presidential election on June 23 2020.
Mutharika took over DPP leadership after the death of his elder brother Bingu in April 2012, propelling the party to victory in the 2014 Tripartite Elections.
The move is seen as strategy ahead of 2025 polls putting house in order.