Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Sunday elected George Chaponda as Leader of Opposition in Parliament replacing Kondwani Nankhumwa with immediate effect, a decision that has ruffled feathers in the party.
The announcement was made at the residence of DPP president Peter Mutharika in Mangochi where the DPP leadership held a closed door meeting to elect new positions in Parliament and later briefed the press on the new positions.
Mutharika’s spokesperson, Shadreck Namalomba said: “The public is complaining that DPP is a weaker opposition in parliament and because of this, party members proposed to change the leader of opposition.”
Namalomba added that the party decided to elect Chaponda in the same way former Leader of Opposition, Nankhumwa was elected.
“We also elected Symon Vuwa Kaunda as Chief Whip in Parliament and his deputy is Lonnie Chijere Chirwa,” said Namalomba.
Namalomba added that Malawi should expect DPP back power come 2025 as the party is now ready to take over its position as a governing party.
Out of 54 DPP Members of Parliament, 29 members attended the meeting, with Nankhumwa, absent.
But DPP spokesperson in Parliament, Mark Botomani said what the party's decision on the Leader of Opposition will not change anything.
Botomani, speaking on behalf of Nankhumwa, said DPP has violated standing orders that decide how a Leader of Opposition is elected by his party; hence, the decision is null and void.
“Honourable Nankhumwa will continue to be our Leader of Opposition in Parliament since their meeting did not respect standing orders which provide that there should be a quorum of all MPs for the party when choosing a Leader of Opposition,” said Botomani.
Botomani also warned Mutharika and other party leaders against disobeying court orders which reinstated Nankhumwa as the leader of opposition.