These days, Vice-President Saulos Chilima is speaking too much intra-party politics in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). However, he is speaking in deep, I mean deeper, silence.
You just have to listen carefully and patiently—you will hear his silence, a deafening one.
You see, the silent voice of Chilima is at a stage where some Malawi Congress Party (MCP) were months ago.
We came to know that some disgruntled MCP members were, indeed, speaking in silence when they called for the party to hold a convention as opposed to the handpicking and appointing system that its current leader Lazarus Chakwera is doing.
I am sure we have not forgotten that it is not too long ago that the matter was taken to the courts, where the High Court in Lilongwe gave the party 90 days to hold a convention to resolve its problems.
I am not interested with what happened after that ruling. However, I am only trying to underscore that sometimes the facades of normality we get from our political parties mask stormy waters brewing within.
There are always some disgruntled in the system who speak in silence until that silence becomes deafening—at that stage, everything comes audible.
You see, just like MCP, I hold an opinion that the ruling DPP should hold an ad hoc national convention to have people vote for the people they want to lead them. I am saying this because there are a lot willy-nilly appointments that are putting other people at an advantage while disadvantaging others.
Take, for example, Vice-President Saulos Chilima, yes the strategic partner for Peter Mutharika in the 2014 elections; the smart and seemingly political novice who helped the DPP back into power.
I feel he really helped the DPP get back in power because he was the party’s symbol of change, a professional and an accomplished marketer who lured the youth vote and the working professionals into its fold.
It was the Chilima effect, let us face it, that, against all odds, saw the DPP scoring the highest votes in the Central Region mainly Lilongwe urban and Ntcheu, his home district, which turned to be the only district that DPP won all the seven constituencies.
Against such a contribution, it appears baffling to note that Chilima does not hold any seat in the DPP’s National Governing Council (NGC).
Does this mean Chilima is not interested in party politics or the DPP is deliberately side-lining him so that he should not be among the possible successors to Mutharika. Is tribalism at play here, considering that DPP is more or less like an ethno-club of the Lhomwe belt?
Why is it that when there is a presidential function you could hear the President acknowledging Northern Region vice-president Goodall Gondwe or George Chaponda for the Southern Region or Bright Msaka for the Eastern Region, but yet the party claims to also have one for the Central Region whose name I did not even bother to find out because he is just a make-believe individual in the midst of the party’s fear to appoint Chilima to be the Central Region party vice-president.
If the DPP regards Chilima a political novice, why this reluctance to give him a top position in the party?
Does the party fear that when Chilima grows big political wings it will be difficult to unleash their succession plans? And hasn’t the DPP learnt a lesson in victimising its vice-presidents?
Considering Gondwe, Chaponda and Msaka were appointed, why is it difficult for the President to do the same with Chilima. Or why can’t the DPP call for a convention to legitimatise all the positions in the party?
This should be the message to Chilima.
He was hired to help give the public the view that the DPP was a changed, tolerant and free of tribal or ethical thinking party and this cause was achieved and Chilima’s job description ended there.
It is easy, therefore, to accuse the DPP of having used and still using Chilima.
But let us face it: Chilima is the only fresh air in the many DPP people and a unique Vice-President in as a far as performance is concerned. n