Tembo hits back at critics

Leader of Opposition and president of Malawi Congress Party (MCP), John Tembo,  has trashed  accusations that he failed to use his influence during one party government to favour the people of his home district Dedza and its southern constituency, in particular.

Tembo said he was not a thief or corrupt person during one party rule so that he could divert development initiatives into his constituency at the expense of other areas.

His reaction follows newspaper report  that for 50 years as MP for Dedza South there is nothing tangible he has done in his constituency as far as development is concerned.

Tembo: MCP is coming back stronger

Tembo told Zodiak Radio’s Pilirani Phiri, anchor of popular Tiuzeni Zoona program on Sunday,  that he believes in equity development.

“I am not a thief or corrupt that I could have used my power to take all developments to my area,” said Tembo, Malawi’s longest-serving and influential parliamentarian.

“It is the responsibility of government to ensure equity distribution of developments but some of us no matter how we ask in parliament we are not assisted,” he added.

According to published reports, Dedza south constituents argue Tembo, who was during the MCP 31-year rule, finance minister, Reserve Bank of Malawi governor for 13 years, minister without portfolio and chairperson of several influential statutory and corporate organisations, could have used his position to uplift his people but did not.

They also observe that their MP has also been leader of opposition in Parliament for some time—with the power to influence budget lines in Chair for Dedza .

The Nation newspaper quoted Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) Father Gerald Bwemba who  described Tembo’s Dedza South Constituency as “one of the most backward,” despite the area’s MP having been one of the most influential figures in the country’s development process.

He said some of the development needs require “very minimal sums of money like K20 000” to improve learning or health services that could come from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) controlled by MPs.

But Tembo explained: “It is a lie that nothing has happened in my constituency.”

He added: “ It is also a lie that I have been MP for 50 years. I was MP from 1961 to 1970 when I became governor. I returned to parliament in 1994,” said Tembo.

According to the paper, Tembo’s constituents even claim that he rarely visits them to discuss the challenges.

Asked if he can deliver Head of State when he is failing to look after a constituency,  the 79 –year-old Tembo said MPs are not supposed to use personal money to run constituencies but that it was the responsibility of government.

In the program, he also said Malawians should expect  more surprises as the rebuilding of MCP continues.

Recently the party roped in former cabinet minister Henry Duncan Phoya into its rank and file.

Phoya is regarded by many as a presidential material.

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