The High Court in Lilongwe has sustained an injunction which was obtained by 23 Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) parliamentarians, restraining George Chaponda from taking over as leader of opposition in Parliament.
The matter started last month when parliament confirmed the appointment of Chaponda who was allegedly elected at a DPP caucus as the new Leader of Opposition, replacing the party’s vice president for the south, Kondwani Nankhumwa.
However, Nankhumwa and other 22 DPP members of Parliament obtained an injunction challenging Chaponda’s appointment arguing that their political rights were violated because they were not invited to the meeting that elected Chaponda.
Later, Chaponda challenged the injunction by asking the court to discharge the order that was granted to Nankhumwa and the other MPs, saying the invitations were sent to the MPs, but some of them excused themselves from attending the meeting.
In a new development, High Court judge, Justice Kenyatta Nyirenda on Monday 8th August trashed Chaponda’s arguments and has since sustained the injunction that was sought by Nankhumwa and other DPP legislators.
The court said although it is not a requirement by law, Chaponda and the DPP were supposed to give tangible reason for the removal of the Nankhumwa from his position as Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly of which they did not.
“What this entails is that although Order 36 of the Standing Orders is silent on the aspect of availability and furnishing of valid reasons for removal of a person from the position of Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly the 2nd Defendants are bound to provide reasons to the Claimant for removing him from his within position and such reasons must be valid.
“In view of the foregoing and by reason thereof, the justice of the case weighs heavily in favour of granting the order of interlocutory injunction being sought by the 23rd Claimant. Accordingly, the 3rd Application is granted and its validity will last until the determination of the main action herein or a further order by the Court,” said Nyirenda in a judgment.
Judge Nyirenda further ruled that since the case before the Court relates to the high office of the leader of the opposition, it is important that such disputes should be tried and determined as soon as possible.
He then added that it is also paramount that the trial and determination has to be done in accordance with the applicable rules.
Meanwhile, DPP which is the second defendant in case applied to the court to have the case discontinued, but the Judge has set the 18th August as the date to hear the new application.
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