Written by YAMIKANI SIMUTOWE
BLANTYRE—John Tembo, who is the Leader of Opposition in the House, has called on government to clean up the “mess” in government structures and “rotten” drugs procurement processes in the ministry of health.
Speaking Monday afternoon in response to the Pres Joyce Banda’s State of the Nation Address, which was delivered last Friday, Tembo observed that the “ministry of health has a very good minister, but the procurement system and centralized system is rotten”.
Tembo, who is also the president of Malawi Congress Party (MCP), observed that the country needed good working relationships for the Banda administration to succeed.
“These economic challenges did not start eight months but they started many months ago and the current administration just inherited these economic challenges.
“Having said that, we need a good working relationship to remove the roadblocks to economic recovery, and if we allow these roadblocks, the country will be worse and plunge in the doldrums and cannot recover and people consequently will die,” said Tembo, attracting ululations and cheers from the House.
He, among others, urged the current administration to enhance commercial farming and put in place “proper marketing system” for the benefit Malawians at all levels.
Tembo also asked Pres Banda's administration to introduce universal farm input subsidy programme so that all farmers should benefit compared to the current programme which has “few beneficiaries”.
“It is high time government bank rolled the universal subsidy programme. Today, farmers are buying a bag of fertilizer at K14, 000," he said. "How do you expect farmers to well with such exorbitant prices?”
He therefore said the 44th parliament meeting will accord legislators chance to analyze whether government is on track or not.
“We met in August last year in this very House to discuss important issues and deliberate on 2012/2013 budget. Therefore it is very important to meet again to analyze whether the government has succeeded or has failed; or if it is struggling to succeed. We should know how it used the resources we allocated to it,” he added.
But when leader of Democratic Progressive Party) DPP George Chaponda was given the floor, he was booed.
Chaponda, who didn't approve most of what Pres Banda said on Friday, told the House that the current administration is just implementing economic reforms that were left by late president Bingu wa Mutharika.
He also cited the recent arrest of reporter Justice Mponda as a ploy to silence and instill fear in the media not to expose corruption which he said was rampant in government.
These claims didn't go down well with some law makers especially from government side who resorted to jeering and booing, forcing the Speaker of the House, Henry Chimunthu Banda, to order the House to let Chaponda speak.
Before adjourning debate to Tuesday morning, the Speaker also announced in the House that Phalombe Central parliamentarian Feston Mulli has rejoined DPP.
“With me here is a letter from Phalombe Central legislator, Feston Mulli, informing the House that he has rejoined DPP and that he should be allowed to relocate to the opposition side,” said Chimunthu Banda, to the applause of DPP legislators.
(c) The Maravi Post 2013