High Court Judge William Msiska has reserved a ruling on an application for injunction that Leader of Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa took to restrain the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) from expelling him.
Nankhumwa, through his lawyer Wapona Kita, challenged his expulsion from the party arguing that the party violated its own constitution as the central committee did not call for arbitration after the disciplinary committee referred to the committee the matter that led Nankhumwa’s expulsion.
Moved the courts: Nankhumwa
The judge on Monday heard the application in chamber and heard arguments from both sides.
Nankhumwa was represented by two lawyers, Kita and Gift Katundu while the DPP was represented by its director of legal affairs Charles Mhango.
In an interview after the hearing, Mhango said the party argued before the court that it followed all procedures provided by the party’s constitution in expelling Nankhumwa.
He said arbitration does not apply in Nankhumwa’s matter as that step takes place where two people are fighting and in the matter at hand, there was no fighting.
Mhango also said Nankhumwa wronged the party and he was given an opportunity to be heard and defend himself before the disciplinary committee but the committee faulted him.
“There was no need for any form of arbitration. They are mixing up things. They are bringing the issue of arbitration so that the court can hear him out that there is a case between him and DPP,” he said.
Mhango added that the party has presented evidence to the court that Nankhumwa and his followers moved on and are no longer DPP members.
“But we have presented evidence before court about Nankhumwa and his supporters destroying DPP materials after being expelled but also indicating that they were done with DPP and that Nankhumwa will be on the ballot come 2025,” he said, adding that Nankhumwa’s interest is on the Leader of Opposition seat.
“It is now that he has realised that he will lose the seat of Leader of Opposition if the court does not grant him the injunction,” he said.
On his part, Katundu said DPP violated its constitution in the manner in which it expelled Nankhumwa.
“We are saying the way the party expelled our client was unconstitutional. The party did not follow its own constitution,” he said.
Katundu argued that the party’s central committee was supposed to call for arbitration after the disciplinary committee referred the matter to the central committee but that did not take place.
“There is need for the court to look into the manner in which he was expelled but also grant an injunction restraining DPP from expelling Nankhumwa while the court is looking into the matter,” he said.
Asked what he makes of the stand by DPP that there was no need for arbitration, Katundu said the court will be the one to decide whether arbitration ought to have happened or not.
He said what has been argued before court is what is provided in the DPP constitution.
He also argued that the videos DPP has presented as evidence do not in anyway indicate that Nankhumwa had moved on.
“If you look at the clips, there is nothing like our client, the claimant, trying to disassociate himself from the party. There is nowhere he says he has left the party,” said Katundu.
Nankhumwa and 10 others were expelled from the party on allegations that they were undermining DPP president Peter Mutharika’s authority and disrespecting party leadership.
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