MCP lawmaker Ulemu Chilapondwa clarifies and apologizes over “cooking oil is luxury commodity for the elite” statement

The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) member of Parliament for Ntchisi South, Ulemu Chilapondwa, has clarified that the statement he made in relation to cooking oil being a luxury commodity for the elite was not, in any way, aimed to demean poor Malawians.

Chilapondwa came under a barrage of criticisms on social media for his poor remarks forcing him to issue an apology.

But Chilapondwa, in an exclusive interview on Wednesday even, said he remains apologetic to all Malawians who were offended by the remarks.

The legislator disclosed that he was deliberately quoted out of context by the opposition in parliament “and that is why made an explanation in Parliament today to clarify why I made the statement.”

“In my statement, I tried to reason with the Leader of Opposition on the need to dwell on critical issues affecting Malawians other than cooking, which some people in the villages can choose to forego, but not farm inputs at this point in time,” he said.

Chilapondwa said he felt that the Leader of Opposition, Kondwani Nankhumwa, should have done better by highlighting these other issues instead of dwelling on cooking oil alone.

He cited Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) as the most pressing need at this point in time among farming households, shortage of drugs in hospitals and impassable road networks, as of the most pressed issues among Malawians, particularly those living in the rural areas.

“And this does not mean that cooking oil is not important. NO! But that we should not put our priorities upside down. I am a member of Budget and Finance Committee where we are lobbying that cooking oil prices should go down. That demonstrates how we value cooking oil as an important ingredient for better living for all Malawians,” expounded Chilapondwa.

Meanwhile, the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament Madalitso Kazombo has hailed Chilapondwa for his apology, saying it has shown that he is brave enough to acknowledge his mistake.

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