Nankhumwa Remains defiant

Nankhumwa Remains defiant

Embattled Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vice-president (South) Kondwani Nankhumwa says he is prepared to contest at the party’s convention next year and that he will win despite numerous challenges he is facing from the party.

In his speech at a rally his faction organised at Nyambadwe Primary School ground in Ndirande Township yesterday, Nankhumwa said he will contest for the party’s leadership and is hopeful that he will win.

The rally comes amid wrangles in the party with two factions, one supporting DPP president Peter Mutharika and Nankhumwa’s camp fighting for party leadership.

Nankhumwa arrives at the rally yesterday

He said: “Whether [the party] will decide to bar me from the convention, I will still contest and win. Whether the convention will be held at the lake or in heaven, I will contest and win. I don’t even care if you will send thugs to intimidate me at the convention. I will still carry the day.”

Nankhumwa, who is also Leader of Opposition in Parliament, said he has faced intimidation from leaders within the DPP ever since 2018 when he was voted vice-president for the Southern Region at the party’s 2019 convention in Blantyre.

The Mulanje Central legislator cited an incident where at one point DPP administrative secretary Francis Mphepo summoned him to a meeting where he was restricted from holding party activities on the basis that he was undermining Mutharika.

Mphepo could not be reached on his known mobile phone number yesterday to comment on the allegation.

However, Nankhumwa said the intimidation never ended there as, on numerous occasions, he was castigated by other senior party for bringing confusion within the party, apart from being stopped from attending party meetings.

While stressing that the aim of DPP is to bounce back in the 2025 general elections, Nankhumwa said regardless of such opposition he has been facing from the party leaders, he has never had any grudges against them, including Mutharika.

On her part, DPP secretary general Greselder Jeffrey warned officials within the party who are removing other duty-bearers from office, saying she is the only who has powers to make certain decisions as per party constitution.

She said: “As the party chief executive officer, I am the one who has to make certain decisions because the party constitution empowers me. So, while we respect the party president, certain decisions are made in consultation with me.”

Jeffrey further decried infighting within the party and asked members to unite for the sake of the party’s success.

Taking his turn, DPP publicity secretary Nicholas Dausi said they also want sanity within the party and the only way would be going to an elective convention.

In an earlier interview last week on the DPP infighting, political analyst Ernest Thindwa said the battle for the party’s leadership will get brutal and that it will bruise the party ahead of the 2025 general election.

Cracks in the DPP came to light after Jeffrey in August 2020 told The Nation that Mutharika, who lost the court-sanctioned fresh presidential election held on June 23 2020 to President Lazarus Chakwera, had done his part and that the party needed a new person to lead it into the future.

The party responded by firing her alongside Nankhumwa, treasurer general and Rumphi North legislator Jappie Mhango and Mulanje West legislator Yusuf Nthenda.

But while the matter ended up in court and was concluded, the party still remains divided.

Last month, the infighting extended to Parliament leadership when the party replaced Nankhumwa as Leader of Opposition with Mulanje South West legislator George Chaponda.

Nankhumwa and 22 other DPP legislators obtained an injunction stopping Chaponda from taking over the position. The matter is still in court.

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