23 May 2018

Malawi: Chilima Challenged to Declare Stand On Malawi Presidential Bid

Photo: Nyasa Times
Malawian Vice President Saulos Chilima.

Commentators have challenged Vice President Saulos Chilima to come out clear on calls by some ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members that he should be the party's torchbearer at the expense of incumbent Peter Mutharika for 2019 polls.

The Chilima-for-president movement is reportedly gaining momentum within the DPP as many members are coming out open to back the Veep towards a presidential run.

However, President Mutharika has declared he will seek re-election while Chilima has been quite on the matter, prompting commentators asking him to take a stand.

Governance expert and political commentator Mankhumbo Munthali said Chilima's continued silence on 2019 Tripartite elections candidature in the midst of the current Chilima-for-presidency crusade would be perceived as lack of decisive leadership which the Episcopal Conference of Malawi through the Pastoral letter recently bemoaned as absent in Malawi political leaders.

He said sadly Chilima has remained quiet despite the fact that the political landscape is becoming more tense each passing day with those who are publicly spearheading his candidature being exposed to more risks and danger.

"Leaders should be bold enough to own and defend their decisions in public," Munthali told Nyasa Times.

He said Chilima should demonstrate that he is not afraid to take decisive decisions on issues that matter for fear of burning their fingers.

"Its high time Chilima came out of his cacoon and publicly declare whether he wants to challenge President Mutharika at the convention or not rather parading himself as someone who doesn't know what is happening. Morally and ethically, it would be dangerous as a country to usher into power cowards as leadership demands boldness.

"Let him clear himself on this one in the best interest of both the party and also those that are spearheading the Chilima for presidency candidature. After all, its accepted in democracy to challenge your party leader at a convention," Munthali said.

He said the issue of DPP presidential race- just like that of other parties - is of paramount concern not only to the party but also to the general public because the one who is to lead the party in the 2019 elections is potentially the next President of Malawi.

"As such they must all be subjected to a fair public scrutiny the very moment they declare they want to lead Malawi," he said.

And in his post, columnist Idriss Ali Nassah said Chilima has to show his hand, sooner rather than late, arguing that the ultimate prize will not be handed to him, one way or the other.

"He has to make a credible brave claim for it--or it will go to others, the likes of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader Lazarus Chakwera, who are not ambivalent about their intentions," wrote Nassah.

"The saying goes that a man who hangs around a beautiful girl without declaring his intentions will end up fetching water for guests at her wedding," he added.

Nassah said while the nation expects the Vice-President to be brave in declaring his intentions, the mission to remake Malawi cannot be, and should not be, Chilima's alone.

He wrote: "Without doubt, the renaissance Malawians seek needs bold messengers to carry forward the flame of renewal, of hope, of a brandnew beginning for country and for self."

The columnist urges the church to play its role and guide the people to a leader who will do good by Malawi, for Malawi.

Efforts to speak to office of the vice president also proved futile as Chilima's press secretary Pilirani Phiri could not pick up our calls on numerous attempts.

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