President, Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika paid a surprise visit to former Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader, John Zenasi Ungapake Tembo, at his residence at Area 10 in Lilongwe on Wednesday.
Mutharika visited the veteran politician and former Leader of the Opposition immediately after presiding over the launch of ‘National Peace Policy and Commemoration of 2017 International Day of Peace’ at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in the capital city.
The President said he has very good ties with Tembo, popularly known as JZU, and that the two communicate once in a while. The visit was to greet him.
The Malawi leader said he has known JZU for a long time starting from his school days at Dedza Secondary School.
“I have great respect for him dating back to secondary school when he (Tembo) had just graduated from the university. He was my student teacher but also we have been together in politics, so I just decided to come and greet him today,” he said
Mutharika said him and the likes of Finance Minister, Goodall Gondwe and Ambassador Ron Nkomba, benefitted a lot from JZU at Dedza secondary and that he was pleased to see him in good health.
“We have benefitted a lot from him and I am so pleased to have come over to see him. He looks very well and we had a wonderful conversation,” said Mutharika.
The President and JZU were in a closed door meeting for more than one hour and were later joined by JZU’s son.
Born in 1932, Tembo is no longer in active politics having served for years as president of the MCP. He was succeeded by Reverend Dr. Lazuras Chakwera prior to 2014, tripartite elections in which Mutharika emerged victorious.
Commenting on the visit, the Executive Assistant to the President and Director of Communications, Dr. Bright Molande said Mutharika respects Tembo in many ways.
“It is important for everyone to know that Honourable John Tembo was a teacher for the president. He taught him at Dedza Boys Secondary School, so he respects him very much,” Molande said.
He, however, said their chat was private hence he could not speak on what the president and former MCP leader shared during the visit but said what happened is a sign of friendliness.
“This means the president has a humane spirit and remembers various individuals. This is a day when we have been commemorating peace, so the president just thought that it is really good for him to visit Honourable Tembo,” he stated.