Recently fired Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials, Ackim Mwanza, Kelvin Chirambo and Joyce Chikukula, have written to their party leader Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, demanding their immediate reinstatement into their respective positions, arguing their dismissal was illegal.
The trio, through their lawyer George Jivason Kadzipatika, further argue that the decision to dismiss them was irregular because the party did not give them any valid reason for the decisions.
Mwanza, Chirambo and Chikukula were dismissed from the positions of Regional Governor, Director of Youth and Director of Women, respectively, in the Northern Region.
They lament that the Administrative Secretary [Francis Mphepo], who communicated the dismissals, did not provide reasons for the dismissals of them, meaning that he and the party had no reasons for the decisions.
“If our clients had committed any offence, the DPP should have followed its own Constitution by referring them to its Disciplinary Committee which is mandated to follow principles of natural justice under Article 15(3) of the DPP Constitution. Our clients were diligently serving the DPP in the said positions when the DPP purportedly dismissed them from their positions on or around 11th December, 2022 for the Regional Governor and on or around 31st March, 2023 for Mrs Joyce Chikukula and Mr. Kelvin Chirambo. The DPP dismissed our clients without either consulting them or affording them their right to be heard,” writes Kadzipatike to Mutharika.
He adds that the letters dismissing our clients from their positions do not indicate the organ of the DPP, which sat in the absence of our clients and decided to dismiss them.
Kadzipatike states that in the absence of such indication, it is difficult to believe that the decisions to dismiss our clients were made by the rightful organ mandated by the DPP Constitution to make such decisions.
“It is possible that the decisions might have been made by an individual who has no authority under the DPP Constitution to make such decisions. Further, we have read the communication from Honourable Shadric Namalomba, MP dated 11th December, 2022 to the general public in which he explains about the DPP’s decision to re-instate Rev. Mzomera Ngwira as Regional Governor for the Northern Region,” continues the letter.
It adds, “While the DPP through that communication purports to create the impression that the offence of abuse of office is more serious than the offence of misuse of office of which, the communication says, Mr. Christopher Mzomera Ngwira was convicted, the two offences are of equal gravity as they are provided under the same section 25B(1) of the Corrupt Practices Act, and as they carry the same maximum punishment of 12 years imprisonment with hard labour. Rev. Mzomera Ngwira was convicted on or around 16th October, 2020. The High Court merely reduced his sentence but maintained his conviction. Article 6(1) iii of the DPP Constitution does not allow any person convicted of an offence involving murder, theft, corruption, dishonesty or moral turpitude to hold any leadership position in the DPP within a period of seven (7) years from the date of such conviction.”
Kadzipatike states that having regard to the seriousness of the offence of which Rev. Mzomera Ngwira was convicted about three (3) years ago, it is very clear to everyone including APM that Rev. Mzomera Ngwira is not eligible to hold any leadership position in the DPP.
“To sum up, the decision to replace Mr. Ackim Mwanza with Rev. Mzomera Ngwira as Regional Governor for the Northern Region, and the decisions dismissing Mr. Kelvin Chirambo and Mr. Joyce Chikukula, are decisions which are not only unfair, unreasonable, and violative of principles of natural justice but also create the bad impression that the DPP is lawless and does not even follow its own Constitution to the letter.
“In light of the foregoing, our clients demand that they should be reinstated to their respective positions before close of business on Tuesday, the 9th day of May 2023. Otherwise, our clients will, on 10th May, 2023, file a legal action against the DPP and Your Excellency in the High Court of Malawi, to seek the reliefs of reinstatement, damages and legal costs,” concludes the letter to APM.
There was no immediate response from Mutharika and his spokesperson, Namalomba.