BLANTYRE--Malawi’s opposition leader John Tembo says Malawians shouldn't quickly condemn the government of Pres Joyce Banda, saying it needs more time to clean up the mess created and left by Pres Bingu wa Mutharika who died in April while still in office.
Tembo, who is president of Malawi Congress Party (MCP), also said he wasn't bitter that he wasn't given a position in the government of national unity (GNU).
As Pres Banda, whose People's Party didn't have its own elected parliamentarians, was putting together a cabinet, it was reported that Tembo had been earmarked for second vice president to cement the GNU.
But in an interview with Zodiak Broadcasting Station on Sunday monitored by MaraPost, Tembo said the president decides who to hire and fire.
“Have you ever heard me talking about that or asking the president to appoint me as the second vice president? I never applied or asked the president to consider me for the second vice president,” challenged Tembo.
The veteran opposotion leader said it was too early to start evaluating and passing judgement on Banda's performance now.
He said the president found and inherited problems created by Mutharika.
“She has only been in the office for six months and this not enough for us to start evaluating and judge her performance. Malawians know that she took government when the country was in total mess with punitive taxes on all basic commodities.
“She has tried to correct and get the nation back on track by firing people who were pushing the country in the wrong direction. However, some have survived and are still working with her in government; they shouldn't mislead and misguide president Banda as they did with Bingu,” said Tembo.
The MCP leader also observed that the president swiftly moved to addres the problems of fuel and forex scarcity in the country, adding that the economic reforms the government has put in place show Banda’s commitment to putting the economy back on track.
“We will always tell...the president where she hasn't done well but for now she needs more time to solve the problems facing Malawians,” he said.
Tembo however faulted Pres Banda for devaluating the local currency without protecting the people.
“As leader of opposition, I advised the president to come up with some measures that would absorb the effects of devaluation but she decided to dance to the tune of donors," said Tembo who once served as central bank governor.
On MCP, he said they will be holding a convention soon where members will democratically elect presidential candidate for 2014 general elections.
“Convention is the only forum that can endorse the candidate for 2014. MCP is still strong with party structures across the country, and those interested to vie for positions during the convention are welcome,” said the MCP leader.
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