Analysts have expressed mixed feelings on how Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who featured as a guest on Thursday in one of BBC’s highly-rated programmes, HARDtalk, handled the interview.
A political commentator, Henry Chingaipe commenting in the Weekend Nation on how Chilima handled the interview, said he was a little casual or not well-prepared, arguing it was not clear whether he had a clear and specific message he wanted to communicate, but one got the impression that he went in just to answer the questions and did not fully anticipate the kind of questions that were in the offing.
On the host’s question where she pressed Chilima on his decision to remain in an administration he is accusing of corruption, Chingaipe said that was an obvious question from any interviewer because one sees a dilemma for the Vice-President and the inability to balance pecuniary interests, legality and personal integrity and political ambition.
Chilima justified his continued drawing of a salary that he was still going to his office, giving counsel to various citizens that seek it, among other roles.
On whether the BBC interview helped or hurt Chilima or whether he grabbed or missed the opportunity to promote his United Transformation Movement (UTM), political communications expert Wisdom Chimgwede said the Vice-President grabbed the opportunity well in the context of the audience he addressed.
“The strength he displayed is the consistency. He, basically, replayed the same script he has used throughout his rallies, press conferences and such other forums since June. But whether that helps his political agenda back home in Malawi, I doubt. The audience he addressed has no direct impact in influencing the much-needed vote.
“In any event, speaking to the international community has really never helped earn anyone the vote in Africa. Examples are plenty, including Zimbabwe and Zambia, nearby,” he said as quoted by Weekend Nation.
Jimmy Kainja, a lecturer at Chancellor College’s Department of Media, Communication and Cultural Studies, said the BBC HARDtalk host and Chilima come from two different backgrounds, with different cultures.
He said people in the UK would expect someone who has disagreed with an administration to quit. He said Badawi displayed accountability journalism by making Chilima account for promises made.
Chilima left for the United Kingdom last Sunday on holiday and is expected back tomorrow. Among other activities, he spoke at the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chathan House in London.
He is set to challenge Mutharika for presidency on a UTM ticket. However, the movement is struggling to register as a political party after the Registrar of Political Parties rejected their application. The matter is in court.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :