Vice-President Saulos Chilima yesterday responded to critics of his pledge to create one million jobs and implement improvements in the transport infrastructure if elected president in the 2019 Tripartite Elections.
He was speaking during the Eastern Region launch of his United Transformation Movement (UTM) at St. Augustine 3 Primary School in Mangochi.
Chilima’s pledge to create one million jobs in his first year of office has attracted criticism from both political and economic commentators as well as President Peter Mutharika.
But yesterday Chilima hinted on how he would execute the plan by, among others, introducing processing factories to enable local production of canned fish and fruit juices as well as developing the lakeshore area to create jobs.
He said: “Don’t call us liars because we are pledging different projects to Malawians. You don’t know our plans. Don’t waste your time talking about us; mind your own business and we will also do the same.”
In an apparent attack on the Democratic Progressive Party, the Vice-President added: “Maybe you want us to reveal who are the liars? They promised to construct 10 000 houses and an international airport here in Mangochi. Did they honour these pledges? Who is the liar now?”
The Vice-President also condemned intimidation from political leaders, saying he is not afraid of anyone.
He said: “I am not scared of anyone, I only fear God. But I respect everyone, and we should respect each other. We respect you but you will not intimidate us.”
Earlier on Saturday, UTM supporters and other people in the district had a rude awakening when one UTM vehicle was smashed and another burnt at Hotspot and Highway lodges in the district.
The incident might have led to the fast-tracking of events at yesterday’s rally which was wound up by 4pm, preventing some senior officials who were scheduled to speak from taking to the podium.
But in her brief remarks, UTM interim secretary general Patricia Kaliati hit back at Mutharika’s threats that he will drop on them like a tonne of bricks if they continue insulting him, saying the President should rather use the bricks to construct an airport that has long been on the cards in the district.
The UTM officials were advised to spend the night in Mangochi and depart as early as possible to avoid to further attacks.
Mutharika has been faulted for using inflammatory language against his critics, notably UTM members, for allegedly calling him ‘mtchona’.
Last week, Mutharika said he will drop on his critcs like a tonne of bricks.
He has also publicly dismissed Chilima’s pledge to create a million jobs in his first year in office and introduce high speed trains for an efficient public transport system if elected president next year, arguing the UTM leader is making impractical promises which he cannot fulfil. n