"It's shameful that the UDF party wants to take us back to the dark days,"

Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Opposition should learn to be sincere

By The Daily Times

There is something extremely wrong with our National Assembly that
beats common sense. Only on Tuesday leader of the opposition and elder
statesman John Tembo told the House that he did not want the wrangles
between his side and the government benches to derail the budget. He
said the misunderstandings were a thing of the past and wished
government well in its implementation of the financial blueprint.

Most Malawians breathed a sigh of relief when they heard that. Some of
them could not believe what they had heard since Tembo has been the
choirmaster in the song that wants Section 65 first and budget later.
These skeptics were proved right less than 24 hours later and those who
were gullible enough as to trust the leader of the opposition’s
cleverly delivered sentiments ended up completely in the wrong.

Alas! Come Wednesday, the opposition in the House did not go into the
committee of supply to finalise the budget as most well-wishing
Malawians had hoped for after Tembo wound up the debate on the budget
with a sweet promising and flattering speech on Tuesday. The opposition
were shamelessly back to their old antics demanding Section 65 and
mounting other hurdles in the way like asking government to explain
over-expenditure from last year before the House could plunge into the
committee of supply.

One thing came out clearly from this unpredictable behaviour of the
opposition, either Tembo is a fluent liar, which we would hate to
believe, or he does not command much respect among his ranks.

Yes the opposition is supposed to demand an explanation on
over-expenditure in the votes that it passed last year to keep the
government in check but not while sacrificing the budget. In fact, this
process is supposed to start immediately after the budget is passed and
not wait to be used as a means to reject the next budget.

Simply put, what the opposition has done is hypocrisy. All along the
government side has been portrayed as the devil’s advocate especially
when they refused to sign the memorandum of understanding (MOU),
crafted by the clergy to end the impasse in Parliament. From their most
recent actions it is apparent that the opposition is not sincere and
that could be the reason why the government is cautious not to take
them on their word.

But as we have said before, Malawi is our country as most of us have
nowhere else to live and, therefore, those in leadership, most of whom
have flats abroad and go to hospital in South Africa, should not play
with innocent lives. Our children learn in Malawi schools, not in
London and the majority poor need the subsidised fertiliser to push up
yields, more so with the increase in global food prices. Please pass
the budget.

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