I hope you had an exciting and blessed Christmas my friends, including Mr. Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who is the subject of this space today. I also pray that you are looking forward to a prosperous New Year.
Mr. Vice-President, before we see what the New Year has in store for us, let us discuss your press statement which your spokesperson issued on Tuesday, December 22.
To be frank, it was a cleverly written statement meant to save faces and maintain relations, but not to clarify anything. The statement was politically well woven to calm the waters by hiding what really is going on in the corridors of power.
It was professionally handled—unlike the other uncouth political statements we have seen in the past.
It did not attack anyone, not even the media houses that wrote stories about Vice-President Saulos Chilima being sidelined by his boss, President Peter Mutharika when it came to delegating those assignments the Head of State could not personally handle.
But I must say that the polite and calm tone of the statement, much as it was welcoming, it was also so confusing that it needed decoding.
Mr. Vice-President, I am not a sadist, but I assume that something is not going on well between you and the President. If it is not you and the President then it is you and the inner circle that always claims that it has suffered with the President.
I heard your interview on one of the television stations and I do agree that there are so many big issues to be concerned with in this country and that we should not add another problem by having, or even wishing, the President fighting with his Vice. But in the game that is public perception, it’s the optics that matter, not words—and the optics indicate that even if your personal relationship with the President were in great shape as you claim, the story is different with the scheming old guard in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Even with the President, I am not convinced with the trips you cited in the statement compared to how frequent some Ministers have travelled handling regional issues such as Sadc and Comesa that you should have ably handled.
From what we have seen your office doing from the reforms and handling of disasters such as floods and drought—you certainly have strong credentials and record. You produce results and you keep time, you go to functions and you wait for organisers—very unusual for leaders in this country.
So issuing a statement just to cover some people’s faces and to show that you are above the fray may work for now, but will it hide the actual “death”, if it comes, now that you have successfully hidden the illness?
Why am I saying this? Politically the DPP looks like it has nothing to do with you. They wanted you to balance the votes in the Central Region. The urban youth countrywide followed you massively and Ntcheu and Lilongwe urban did wonders.
The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) must be cursing you for being a game changer in the 2014 Tripartite Elections. It was, therefore, widely expected that the DPP would make you party Vice President in the Central Region after Hetherwick Ntaba’s departure, but the party has opted for one Gawanani, a fellow I have never heard of.
The argument was that your political base, Ntcheu, is in eastern region. But how does the party now explain this after appointing Bright Msaka as party Vice President for the eastern region? Maybe the party will create a separate region for you. Ha! Ha! Watch out, Mr. Vice-President.
Politically the DPP is playing some games that they would easily dump you as 2019 fast approaches, especially because of the strong belief that President Mutharika may not stand again. So, read the signs and you will see the public has valid concerns for you.
It is not that people want to see you fighting with the President. But the public has seen something amiss. The DPP is elbowing you out, having used you to help deliver State House to them. You did your job. You helped the party back into power and now you are useless. It is that simple really.
So far, you are doing a more than decent job of the portfolios you have been delegated to manage. And the country is watching. As for the politics we will see how you handle it.
I liked your concluding advice in your statement: that the history and the future generation will judge us by what we build and not what we destroy.
I also want to conclude with advice to you, sir: If something is wrong there and you want to cough, please do cough, Mr. Vice-President otherwise you will choke.
I hope the rest of you my dear readers had a fantastic Christmas and I am looking forward to seeing you in the New Year, God willing.
Have a prosperous 2016!n