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Divided opposition worries government

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Kondwani Nankhumwa

Lawmakers Wednesday concluded the 2022- 23 Budget Meeting in Lilongwe, with Leader of the House Richard Chimwendo Banda expressing shock over how weak and divided the country’s opposition has become in recent months.

In his adjournment statement, Chimwendo Banda said, from the day the meeting started, the opposition had not been united.

“From the word go, they have never been united. You have seen, this year, that they are even in court. The Leader of Opposition has to move from here to go and answer charges in court and come back and lead his side.

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“It’s a very shaking opposition. They are not united. Today, you have this spokesperson; tomorrow, you have another spokesperson. It is something we never had in our time. We also go through problems but we are able to resolve the problems within ourselves,” Chimwendo Banda said.

According to Chimwendo Banda, Parliament needs a strong opposition to provide checks and balances.

“We need criticism. We need people to come and tell us what is happening and provide alternatives to government. That is what opposition is all about in each and every country you go.

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“We are not even sure whether the current Leader of Opposition is getting support from all the members because it seems like there are so many camps. We dont want to intervene in what is happening on their side but what we are asking is that, when they come to appear before Malawians, they should be united,” Chimwendo Banda.

During the meeting, lawakers passed the 2022-23 National Budget pegged at K2.84 trillion, in addition to passing 20 bills.

“The approval of the budget by this House is a pronouncement to our people that despite our different political affiliations, we are committed to our duty-which is that we should be instruments through which our country should prosper and that we should always strive to serve a greater purpose than our individual ambitions,” Chimwendo Banda said.

Speaking earlier, Leader of the Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa said the cost of living among Malawians continued to be unbearable due to the ever-rising prices of basic commodities and services.

According to Nankhumwa, despite that the 16.5 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on cooking oil was removed, the price of cooking oil continued to rise, adding that a one litre bottle of cooking oil is now at K4,000 while a 5-litre bottle is selling at K20,000.

“This is unacceptable, especially considering that Malawians are just smarting from the deadly effects of Covid and disasters occurring due to hostile weather conditions. Additionally, civil servants’ salaries have remained low for a long time,” Nankhumwa said.

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