JB contemplates to appoint Tembo 2nd VEEP

Malawi’s newly installed President Mrs Joyce Banda is contemplating to appoint leading opposition MCP president John Tembo-a veteran politician back from the Kamuzu Banda independent era-as her second vice President.

Recently there have been meetings and plottings between Banda’s camp and several opposition leaders on how the new administration can forge a Government of National Unity (GNU), with both the MCP and former ruling UDF , putting up the bids.

However, insiders confided that Tembo’s name seems to be fitting into Banda’s plans. Banda has already come in the open that she would go for a GNU after going into government with a political party-People’s Party-with no single Member of Parliament.

Tembo: Met President Banda

So far it was only four MPs-independents-who were openly supporting Banda and her PP in Parliament. These included Khumbo Kachali, who has since taken over as vice President thereby leaving the PP with only three MPs clearly on its side.

The now “ruling” party may come back to four members in the House following the appointment of another independent legislature Moses Kunkuyu as Information and Civic Education Minister.

Kunkuyu, though critical of Bingu wa Mutharika’s administration before the former president’s death, was still in the DPP side.

Sources said Tembo, a Leader of Opposition in Parliment since 2003, and some senior UDF politicians have already met Banda in an effort to be considered in the GNU.

Tembo told Malawi’s leading newspaper The Nation of Friday, April 20, that he indeed met the new President but declined to divulge any information on what was discussed.

“Yes I met the President, but I cannot tell you what we discussed,” Tembo told The Nation.

It is also said that ahead of Tembo/Banda’s meeting, several MCP legislators were initially sent to meet Banda on the same agenda. The MCP President also confirmed the meeting.

“As head of state, she can meet anyone she wants. There is nothing unusual about that,” he said without also divulged anything or saying whether his MPs were sent by him.

A high ranking official within the PP, however said Tembo and the MCP legislators were resenting themselves as possible allies in a GNU.

On the issue of second vice President the official said: “That is what he (Tembo) demanded as a condition to join and support the new administration.”

Among those MCP MPs mentioned to have met Banda include Mchinji South’s Jerome Waluza, Lilongwe South East’s Willard Gwengwe, Mchinji North’s Rachael Zulu and Lilongwe east’s Ezekiel Ching’oma. Zulu is the wife of one of the prominent PP member in the central region a former parliamentarian George Zulu.

Waluza confirmed that they went to see the President to express their support for the new administration.

UDF Leader in Parliament Ibrahim Matola also confirmed 11 UDF MPs have met Banda but he said their agenda was to convey condolences and congratulate her on ascending to the office of the president.

The PP official disclosed that during the meetings with both sides it was clear that they both want to be considered in the GNU although the UDF was not clear on its demands or present anyone to be considered as second vice President.

The UDF is currently divided into two camps with one supporting the Atupele Muluzi agenda while the other is supporting Jumbe. Most UDF MPs have clearly indicated that they are for Muluzi’s son meaning that if they would want a GNU with a second veep coming from their camp Atupele would be the likely candidate.

“Although a decision has not yet been made, it seems that the President would opt to have Tembo because of his long experience and also as a ploy to deflate him in his bid for the 2014 Presidency whereby it would be tricky for him to campaign against a government he is part of,” said the PP senior source.

PP Secretary General Henry Chibwana only said the outcomes of various meetings between Banda and several politicians would be made public only after decisions are made and when such outcomes affect the public.

Tembo’s move is a clear sign that he is slowly giving up on his high ego of ever becoming the President of the country considering his age and his realistic chances of making it in 2014 when he is to face Banda whose campaign can be comfortably be said to have started with her ascendancy to power and her attempts to correct whatever wrongs done by her predecessor Mutharika.

However, considering Tembo’s past history and unpallatable legancy as one behind Kamuzu Banda autocratic rule, it is likely that such an appointment will be received with resentment among Malawians, who are just coming out of another nasty experience of dictatorship under the late Mutharika.

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