Chitipa South Member of Parliament Welani Chilenga sudden obsession with praising the Peter Mutharika administration is, apparently, not sitting well with a number of his fellow parliamentarians with some of them describing his actions as unnecessarily overzealous.
Chilenga, a once influential People’s Party (PP) legislator, fell out of favour with the party’s top leadership.
However, he continues to sit on opposition benches in the National Assembly.
On Tuesday, Chilenga plunged the entire house into a furious commotion when in his protracted contribution to the 2018/2019 budget statement he praised President Mutharika for achieving “unprecedented development” in the country.
“Mr Second Deputy Speaker Sir, thank you for recognizing Chitipa South to add a voice on the 2018/2019 budget estimates ably presented by the best Minister of Finance in the best government that this country has never had before,” he began amid cheers from the government side and jeers of disapproval from the opposition.
With the usual huge allocations to the key sectors of education, health and agriculture, the 2018/2019 budget also has, among others, allocations for recruitment of more civil servants, increment of civil servants salaries and chiefs honoraria, youth skills and entrepreneurship program and the infamous farm input subsidy program.
Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP), PP and many other economic commentators have however torn apart the budget, describing it as a wishful list aimed at hoodwinking the unsuspecting Malawians ahead of the 2019 tripartite elections.
Chilenga continued with his seemingly well crafted and rehearsed speech, “Contrary to the non appreciative partisan political responses by the MCP and PP, Mr Second Deputy Speaker Sir, I stand before this house to commend government for coming up with one of the best budget estimates in the history of Malawi”.
He added that the 2018/2019 budget is a result oriented financial plan which is meeting the interests of the poor majority and not those of the elites.
But in an interview outside the chamber, one senior PP lawmaker who spoke on condition of anonymity, questioned Chilenga’s sudden change of tone towards the government.
“This is a man who not long ago harshly criticized the very same government he is bootlicking now. Some of us are beginning to suspect that he has been bought. He has betrayed his constituents.”
But Chilenga defended himself.
“It is actually the people of Chitipa South who are impressed with the visionary leadership of President Mutharika and have requested me to stand on Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) ticket in 2019. In fact, all PP structures in the constituency have defected to DPP and it is just a matter of time before I officially announce that I have joined the ruling party,” he told Nyasa Times.
Meanwhile, in the Chamber, Chilenga wound up his speech with even more praise for Mutharika, creating even more drama in the August House.
“Lastly Mr Second Deputy Speaker Sir, I am not surprised that MCP and PP would gang up to speak ill of the 2018/2019 budget estimates. The budget will prove the opposition wrong when people start seeing developments and changes as contained in Hon Gondwes Budget Statement. Well, the quality of our opposition in Malawi, and MCP and PP, in particular, is that type that refuses to give credit where it is due”.
He added: “Mr Second Deputy Speaker Sir, let me assure this house that God willing, we will all meet again in May 2019 and that the next budget estimates will likewise be presented by the Minister of Finance from the DPP government with its president as Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika and First Lady Prof Getrude Mutharika. Fortunately Mr Second Deputy Speaker Sir, we will have the same opposition political parties sitting on the same benches continuing with their good job of offering dissenting views in this house.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :