Malawi: Consider Credibility of Running Mates When Voting New Malawi President, Advises Chilima

Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who is also UTM Party presidential candidate in the May 21 Tripartite Elections, has advised voters to consider characters of presidential running mates when voting next week Tuesday.

Chilima: Running mate should be a good alternative to the president, not a mere puppet

Chilima campaigning at 'Ziboliboli' market in Blantyre

UTM's Louis Nggalande campaign with Chilima

Chilima and his running mate Usi

President Mutharika and his runningmate Everton Chimulirenji

UDF presidential pair of Atupele Muluzi and Frank Mwenifumbo

MCP presidential candidate Chakwera and his runningmate Mia

Addressing Imbizos in Blantyre rural and urban Wednesday to wrap up his Southern Region campaign, Chilima advised the voters not to be hoodwinked .

"When you go and vote next week, please consider the running mates as well. This is the presidency and if the president cannot go ahead to rule, then we should have someone who can ably take over. So look at the ones that we have and see for yourself," said Chilima.

Chilima, promoted by his initials SKC for Saulos Klaus Chilima, also reiterated his position that he will be "the last Vice-President to be victmised", saying the holder of the office in the UTM Party administration will have specific duties to avoid breeding a bad working relationship that has rocked the performance of the country's President and Vice-President over the years.

SKC's running mate is Dr Michael Bizwick Usi, a former country director for Adventist Development and Relief Agency (Adra) Malawi, holds a doctorate from the University of Bedfordshire in the United Kingdom.

Usi is also widely known by his nickname Manganya, a character in the Tikuferanji series. He is basically an actor and playwright, besides working as a corporate executive.

Mzuzu-based political analyst Emily Mkamanga also argues that voters should look forward to a a running mate who should be a good alternative to the president, not a mere puppet.

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential hopeful Lazarus Chakwera has Sidik Mia as his running mate. Incumbent President Peter Mutharika has Evertone Chimulirenji as his running mate while United Democratic Front (UDF) presidential candidate Atupele Muluzi has Frank Mwenifumbo of Aford as his running mate.

Mkamanga argued that the presidential candidate and his running mate must be equal in all spheres to complement well in serving the country.

During the Blantyre campaign finale, Chilima's remarks focused on agriculture, economic development and education while reminding the people about the power of the ballot paper.

In his speech during the tour which took him among other places, Chilomoni, Lunzu, Makhetha, Chilima maintained his promise of mass tax incentives, including removal of 16.5 percent value added tax (VAT) on airtime, electricity and water, if elected president.

He insisted that removing VAT from water, electricity and airtime will go a long way in improving Malawians' lives.

Chilima also campaigned at Curios market (Paziboliboli) in Blantyre City where he appealed for support, urging Malawians to "allow a new generation to take charge".

He said the elections offer Malawians "an incomparable once-in-a-generation" opportunity to fix the country and set it going.

He said: "We must pull down the cobwebs of corruption and nepotism and unleash this nation's true potential."

Chilima severed ties with governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and President Peter Mutharika last June, has been facing a huge turnout of voters during his meetings mostly especially of late as his momentum grows.

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