Leader of opposition in parliament John Tembo has criticised Joyce Banda for travelling with a huge entourage to New York in the United States where she attended the United Nations General Assembly.

John Tembo who has shunned criticising the new government as he was promised the 2nd vice president position of the republic seems to have thrown caution to the wind.

This was perhaps an indication that he now feels the 2nd vice president position will not be on the table as it has been widely criticised as unnecessary and with the present economic climate it would make Joyce Banda lose more political capital.

In an interview on Wednesday, TJohn embo faulted the size of Banda’s entourage to the United Nations General Assembly, saying looking at committees that are at the UN, the 33-member delegation is too big and therefore a drain on taxpayers money.

“At the bottom of the issue is the number of people. Taking civil servants, politicians and chiefs to the UN? For what? There are only five or six committees which deal with issues apart from the general assembly. The number is just too much,” Tembo said.

Tembo has also criticised the recent transfer of beds from Mponela Rural Hospital to Mzimba, saying it was a political miscalculation.

Tembo has however said despite the flaws, the Banda administration has started well.

“There are no two ways, the government has started well. They have removed some of the worst decisions or appointments that were made by the DPP government. I give them full marks on that one. But as time goes on, we will start seeing certain things that are not in accordance with good governance. When these appear, we will tell them. Already we are talking about many people travelling to New York. But you cannot pick that little thing and make it big as a point of governance,” Tembo said.

It is reported that government spent close to K308 million for the entourage to the UN. State house press secretary, Steven Nlhane, in a press statement, recently defended the size of the entourage, saying the amount is the lowest in the history of United Nations meetings.

He said it was a necessary expense, given the importance of the meetings Banda was holding with potential investors and world leaders, whose support Malawi needs in the rebuilding of the economy.

The issue of beds was put to rest after government returned the 13 beds to the hospital on Friday last week.

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