Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vice president for the South Kondwani Nankhumwa says Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara picked him to become Leader of Opposition.
Speaking in an interview with Times Television, Nankhumwa said Hara was the one who first appointed him to the role of Leader of Opposition before he was officially appointed by DPP leader Peter Mutharika.
According to Nankhumwa, after Mutharika’s loss in the 2020 presidential elections Hara asked the DPP through Secretary General Grezelder Jeffrey to choose a Leader of Opposition.
However, on the day the current Parliamentary session was expected to start, Mutharika was yet to choose a Leader of Opposition and other leaders in Parliament.
In order for Parliamentary proceedings to start, Hara then picked Nankhumwa as acting Leader of Opposition because he was the leader of Government Business when the DPP was in power.
“I don’t know if the Speaker has powers to do so but I know that she made the appointments as a precautionary measure so that proceedings should start,” said Nankhumwa who is also Member of Parliament for Mulanje Central.
After the first day of proceedings, Mutharika chose Member of Parliament for Mulanje South West George Chaponda as Leader of Opposition and Nankhumwa as Chief Whip.
Nankhumwa said he rejected the new position because he took it as a demotion to be removed as Leader of Opposition and become a Chief Whip.
Hours after Nankhumwa rejected the post, Mutharika changed his mind and appointed Nankhumwa as Leader of Opposition.
The appointment and other appointments Mutharika made were communicated to Parliament.
“I was chosen by President Peter Mutharika so I am surprised by claims that I picked myself as Leader of Opposition,” said Nankhumwa who is facing disciplinary hearing in the DPP over the manner of his appointment as Leader of Opposition.