Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has pinned Vice-President Saulos Chilima down to provide more details on his claim that the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) plans to rig the 2019 Tripartite Elections.
MCP’s call follows Chilima’s remarks during the launch of a new political grouping, United Transformation Movement (UTM), in Lilongwe on Saturday that he was aware of a DPP scheme to rig the elections.
In a statement released on Sunday, MCP publicity secretary the Reverend Maurice Munthali also asked Chilima to reveal how DPP allegedly rigged the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections which saw President Peter Mutharika—with Chilima as running mate—winning by 36 percent. MCP’s Lazarus Chakwera finished second with 27 percent.
MCP said it wants Chilima to clarify these issues and his sentiments that the current government is deeply involved in various corruption scandals.
But press officer in the Office of the Vice-President, Pilirani Phiri, yesterday declined to comment on the statement his boss made at the launch dominated by youths who cheered him on.
However, some political commentators yesterday told The Nation that Chilima’s revelations should not be taken lightly as he is still part of government as Vice-President.
Political commentator Humphreys Mvula observed that Chilima is privy to discussions at Cabinet level; hence, it can be concluded he is speaking from an informed point of view.
He said: “If this is said by the Vice-President who is part of government system one would want to believe that he is speaking from a position of knowledge. This is not an allegation from the civil society organisations or somebody, but something from the Vice-President who did not speak in his bedroom, but in a public forum.”
Mvula echoed MCP’s calls for the Vice-President to give more details regarding how DPP is planning to rig elections and that Mutharika should tell Malawians the truth on the matter to avoid breaking national peace which he said could be easily compromised because of violence.
He observed that Chilima’s remarks are becoming bizarre in the wake of allegations that DPP manipulated the results of the 2014 elections, an observation DPP publicity secretary Nicholas Dausi has dismissed.
Mzuzu-based political commentator Emily Mkamanga also noted that Chilima is not an ordinary man but a Vice-President whose remarks should not be taken lightly.
She feared voter apathy in next year’s elections as people will have the feeling that DPP already won the election. She said comments by DPP secretary general Grezelder Jeffrey that DPP has already won the elections even if polls are not done could be seen as lending credence to Chilima’s claims of rigging.
While commending Chilima for being courageous and honest to the extent of severing ties with his boss Mutharika to stand for the truth, MCP said it wants him to thoroughly explain what it called a ‘truth’ that Chakwera won.
The statement reads in part: “We in MCP take Chilima’s message as both a vindication of what MCP under Chakwera has always been preaching about but also as a window for us to inquire more from SKC.”
On why people should not believe Chilima, Dausi, who is also Minister of Information and Communications Technology, accused the Vice-President of having not read books on politics. But he said it was not true that Chilima helped DPP rig 2014 elections as some allege.