South Africa-based Malawian businessperson Simbi Phiri has dismissed any possible ambition to vie for the Presidency in Malawi, saying he harbours no such dream.
However, Phiri, who runs a construction and engineering firm Khato Holdings Limited, has confirmed that he currently has been financially supporting both the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
He was speaking to a group of Malawian journalists who are in Johannesburg, South Africa, on tour of some of Khato’s projects.
Phiri cited his strong business interests and South African citizenship which he acquired from naturalisation as reasons he would never contest for political office in Malawi.
Phiri, who confirmed reports that he bought a vehicle for MCP president Lazarus Chakwera, also dismissed reports that he was intending to buy a jet for President Peter Mutharika. He further expressed displeasure with how Malawians have come to associate his generosity to political ambition.
“I have said this to many people. I don’t know what is wrong with Malawians. When somebody has a bit of money, he is supposed to be a politician. I am satisfied with the position that I have and I am happy that I am able to interact with the opposition and even the ruling party. I wouldn’t even want my children to join politics because there are so many other things to do besides politics,” he said.
Phiri added that it is sad to note that everyone in Africa would want to join politics regardless of the other many opportunities out there, saying the mentality was killing off entrepreneurship and national development.
“We have one President at a time. There is no point in tearing each other and bringing each other down when there are many other opportunities. We need people in all the other sectors.”
“MCP knew me first and they came to me and I knew DPP later and I would do that for anybody for that matter because this is the spirit that I have introduced in this life. I have a South African citizenship and there is no way I can contest in an election in Malawi. But still, Malawi is my home and I love it that way,” said Phiri.
Phiri was born in Malawi but is a successful construction magnet in South Africa. Since 2014 elections his name has increasingly become recognised on the political scene. n