MCP president John Tembo on Sunday briefed his MPs that he is still waiting for his appointment as the second vice-president following the discussion he had with President Joyce Banda.
During the meeting held at his Area 10 residence, Tembo is said to have cautioned the MPs on their level of criticism against government in the House.
Tembo on Wednesday confirmed the meeting took place saying that it was a party caucus, but declined to comment on why he briefed his MPs on the impending appointment.
â€œNo MP raised those concerns at the meeting,â€ Tembo said when asked why some MPs told him not to put too much hope in the impending appointment.
On whether the MPs endorsed his possible appointment into the position, he said: â€œAsk the MPs themselves.â€
Weekend Nation corroborated with three MPs who attended the Area 10 meeting. They all said Tembo broke the news to them.
â€œWe had a caucus on Sunday afternoon at his house where Honourable Tembo said he was still waiting for his appointment as the countryâ€™s second vice-president because he discussed it with the President [Banda] when they met.
â€œHe said he will go with four MCP MPs into government when he is appointed second vice-president and, therefore, was watching us because he is the one who will choose the four,â€ said one MP who attended the meeting, but asked for anonymity for fear of reprisals.
The MP, however, said the meeting told Tembo that it was difficult for Banda to appoint him as second vice-president because the move would be in conflict with donorsâ€™ interests as it would be perceived as wasting government resources.
â€œHonourable Tembo was told that he should not expect the appointment because donors would not like it and that as a party, we should just continue playing our role of criticising and ensuring checks and balances.
â€œBut he said we should wait for the President to come back from abroad to know the way forward on the issue. He said if he is not appointed into the position, then we can go flat out criticising Bandaâ€™s government,â€ said the MP.
Another MCP MP who attended the meeting also said Tembo told them to wait for Banda to return home to know the way forward on the matter.
â€œHe also said we should not allow Peopleâ€™s Party to approach us directly as individuals to support government without going through him.
â€œAs MPs, our concern is that some people in our constituencies have started thinking that MCP is finished because of recent remarks by the leadership to support Joyce Banda,â€ said the MP.
MCP spokesperson Jolly Kalelo said, among other issues, Tembo convened the meeting to discuss Finance Minister Dr. Ken Lipengaâ€™s 2012/13 budget statement and the partyâ€™s approach on the same, adding he was not aware of the second vice-presidency issue.
Speculation has been rife that President Banda plans to appoint JZU as second VP after she appointed his son, John, as Deputy High Commissioner to the UK.
Since then, Tembo has been cosy with the President by attending State functions and welcoming her at the airport when she is coming from trips abroad.
Tembo last week hailed Lipengaâ€™s budget statement while MCP spokesperson on finance Joseph Njovuyalema accused Banda of travelling too much within her first two months of office. He also said the budget has insufficient measures to caution the effects of devaluation on the poor.
On arrival from the US on Thursday, the President justified the trips by saying she needed to pay courtesy calls to leaders in the region and that the US trip was not funded by government.