BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)–Speaker of Parliament, Catherine Gotani Hara, has today October 2, 2020 announced that Mulanje Central legislator Kondwani Nankhumwa is the Leader of Opposition in Parliament having been satisfied with the procedure in which the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers elected him to the position.
Hara made the announcement before adjourning the House for weekend recess.
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”.
On Wednesday, Malawi Parliament reversed the decision by President of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Peter Mutharika of appointing Francis Kasaila as new Leader of Opposition replacing Nankhumwa.
The Parliament’s decision came following a protest from Mulanje West lawmaker Yusuf Nthenda who claimed that the Leader of Opposition is not appointed but elected by opposition Members of Parliament.
Nthenda questioned the idea to allow DPP president Mutharika, who is not a legislator, to dictate business of the House.
The MPs, therefore, held an election on Thursday where Nankhumwa won with 48 votes against four for Nsanje Central legislator Francis Kasaila, the preferred choice of DPP leader and the country’s immediate past president Mutharika.
However, 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.
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.