Malawi opposition chief Tembo hails President’s speech

Malawi’s opposition leader in parliament, John Tembo, on Friday effusively commended President Joyce Banda for the speech she delivered at the State Opening of the First Session on of the 44th Parliament in the capital Lilongwe.

“Very good!” was the comment of Tembo on President Banda’s State of the Nation address, the second since she assumed the presidency following the death of Bingu wa Mutharika who succumbed to cardiac arrest April 5, 2012.

It was a more upbeat comment than the initial verdict from some opposition political leaders, who said there was no hope in the President’s speech.

Tembo, who is also president of Malawi Congress Party (MCP), said President Banda made a comprehensive speech on the state of the nation.

Tembo: Very good speech
Tembo: Very good speech

The veteran politician and longest serving lawmaker, however said he would have to analyze the speech closely to pick out issues and respond to it accordingly in the House.

“As a speech it’s very good and well prepared,” he said.

“But it’s when we sit down and go through it critically that we will find out what has succeeded and what has not succeeded and what ought to be done,” said Tembo.

The opposition leader said he was glad that while the President had outlined a number of successes, she had also mentioned some areas where challenges continue to surface such as shortage of drugs in the country.

He also observed that while the number of beneficiaries of Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) had increased this season, some deserving families did not access coupons for the program and that this problem ought to be looked into.

President Banda said Malawi as an agro-based economy, agriculture is bound to give the country the quickest wins for the economy to turn around.

“In agriculture, our strategy is to modernise and industrialize the sector to move from subsistence farming to managing farming as a business,” she said.

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