I’ve no regrets, says Tembo: Dodges BBC question

Malawian long serving conviction politician, John Tembo, says he has no regrets from his political career  dating back from the one-party dictatorship when he was  one of the key figures in  late Kamuzu Banda regime and was regarded as a “strongman”.

Tembo said this during an interview with BBC Focus on Africa on Monday .

“No, [regret],” responded Tembo when journalist Raphael Tenthani asked him if he has any regrets.

The 80 year old veteran politician, who left his Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidency after the party national convention barred him from standing for a third term, said he had no regrets at all but admitted he was not a saint.

Tembo: I have no regrets at all
Tembo: I have no regrets at all

“I think I have done as well as I could, only God would be perfect.  But every human being has some things he does well, some things he doesn’t do well, that’s expected,” said Tembo.

He first contested for a parliamentary seat in the first multiparty general elections in 1961.

Tembo held several  key position in MCP regime which including the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM),chairman of 16 state-run companies, minister of Finance and minister of state.

He was however “pushed” into retirement front-line politics  when delegates to the MCP convention a week ago elected former Malawi Assemblies of God president the Reverend Dr Lazarus Chakwera to be the party’s torchbearer in the 2014 presidential elections.

Tembo told BBC that he was interested to run for the third time;

“I was going to run as a candidate during the convention,” he said.

“I did inform prior to that convention, to the National Executive Committee that it was my desire to retire. Everybody knew as well as I did , that they only way I could run was if the constitution was amended [to allow him seek third term],” he said.

Asked if he was “pushed” into retirement, Tembo said the convention agreed with his request to retire.

He also denied that wit was not a rejection when delegates refused to amend the party constitution to allow him contest.

Tembo said that was not a rejection of him because he had already offered to retire.

The Leader of Opposition said he was confident MCP will bounce back to power next year.

“Every party registered in Malawi, let alone Malawi Congress Party, which is  the foundation of  politics in Malawi. Malawi Congress Party fought against the British , you should know that, and we won. The Malawi Congress Paryy won. That’s what politics is all about,” he said.

Pressed that if his predicition that MCP would win elections under Chakwera would mean he was a stumbling block to the party after failing to win in two elections, he dodged the question.

After some time of silence, journalist Tenthani asked Tembo: “ Are you going to answer me Mr?” Tembo remained muted and journalist moved on with another question which he swiftly responded.

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