“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly,” – Robert Kelly.
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked“Your vice president really left one of the topmost lucrative jobs in your country to pursue a career in politics?” I’m sure by now I would have retired and be living on a private yacht sipping margaritas somewhere along the beautiful beaches of the Atlantic Ocean.
When I first heard that the Right Honourable Saulos Klaus Chilima (SKC) had resigned as Airtel’s Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O) to be Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika’s running mate I brushed it aside. Mind you, this was the time when everyone and their aunt in Malawi was playing reporter and ‘breaking news’ on the run up to the May 2014 tripartite elections.
An hour later a friend confirmed that indeed the flamboyant Mr. Money was going to be APM’s running mate. It was a shock to many. He pulled a surprise.
My immediate response was “that’s the end of him” and all my friends and foes alike concurred. “This is the beginning of his end!”
We weren’t the only ones who held such sentiments because in no time Facebook and Twitter Malawi erupted with similar posts.
I remember sitting next to the VP’s acquaintances at one of the popular bars in the capital, Lilongwe and eavesdropped them going on and on about how happy they were that SKC was going to give politics a shot. They argued that the guy is really smart but at the same time down to earth.
This amused them because apparently they knew that there was no way the Democratic People’s Party was going to bounce back into government. Of course, then it was just a rumor, but it was only a matter of time before we were all going to be proven wrong.
But who is SKC?
Ordinarily, for many Malawians, Saulos Klaus Chilima is Malawi’s incumbent flamboyant and youthful vice president who was born in 1973 and hails from Ntcheu and Lilongwe districts. One who went to Mtendere Secondary School and later attended Chancellor College.
He is an astute economist and a vibrant marketer who holds a Master’s degree in Economics and is about to conclude his PhD with Bolton University in the UK. They know him as devoted catholic who is married to Mary and has two children. That is how many know SKC as.
But Saulos Chilima is more than just that.
Well, to me here is an extraordinary witty gentleman. He is a risk taker. SKC is a noble man who is audacious, bold and valiant. He is a dare devil. He does not fear circumstances, he creates the circumstances for the good in life not only form himself but all and sundry.
Here is an individual who can give up everything almost for nothing. He is a fearless optimist who is not afraid of tomorrow and yet he is not bothered by his yesterday. He is a man full of surprises yet very ordinary. He is just a normal human being.
For me, most politicians in Malawi turn to politics for survival and at least to earn a decent living after all else in life is doom and groom but SKC has showed that he is a different breed. We must borrow a leaf off him that life is a risky business. It is a gamble and one has to do what he must do to soar high.
SKC is so courageous, he does not fear to explore the unknown, he swims in unknown waters and yet he gets across to the shores as Anais Nim once said; “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
SKC is an inspiration. He is success personified. He is a lesson that in order for anybody to win, one must be prepared to lose. Most of us are where we are today because of not wanting to let go of the things we have no matter how detrimental they are to our lives.
Here is a man who in his early forties just when life begins, has become the country’s youngest vice president in Malawi’s history without previously being involved in politics – at least not actively. It is fair to say he is a political novice.
I, for one, know for sure I never would have played such a high stakes’ game if I was in his shoes (assuming that I somehow found myself as Airtel’s top boss). Why? There is no way I would have taken such a huge risk, but now I can!
I remember in one of his interviews the VP was asked if he thought he had made the right decision and he responded, albeit cockily, that he had never made a ‘wrong’ decision in his life and come 29th of May 2014 he was vindicated.
Chilima as the republican Vice President extraordinaire, he gives hope to the youth, the leaders of tomorrow as he brings with him a new dimension to politics.
“Saulos ndi makolo enieni!” and Saulos ndi deal, are but some of the new catchwords for many a youth in the urban circles.
With him, the long awaited tomorrow, for the youth, who for so long have been used by politicians for their own selfish good, has finally come. Tomorrow is here for the young generation. A generation of risk takers not the cowards.
So far, I am impressed with the way he is handling himself and issues of national importance. He is pure and simple. His punctuality is something we all have to emulate and his hardworking spirit is something we all need to adopt. Let’s roll up our sleeves with him and move Malawi forward.
If he changes for worse, I will be first one to come here and give him sticks. Trust me. I give credit where is due and constructive criticism when it is necessary. I am the ‘sojourner of truth.’
My wish, however, is that he doesn’t get side-tracked and eventually morph into a typical politician. Or am I just being just being naïve?
However this is all going to end up teaching us only one thing that anything is possible, not just in politics, but life in general. You can truly become anything you want to be as long as you are determined.
The moment you start to believe in yourself anything is possible, because someone that believes in himself (oneself maybe) will not be afraid to push himself (as above) to the next level and to risk the possibility of failure.
Push, push and push beyond the boundaries and achieve more. Be a daredevil. Let not the sky be the limit because it just a view, after all there are footsteps on the moon, way far beyond the sky.
To all of you who would want to be the next Saulos Chilima in life, take a risk. Do not fear to lose as Robert Kelly puts it:“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”
So, how many of you would take such an enormous risk? Or are you satisfied with the status quo? Success won’t fall on your lap, you have to pursue it.
How many Saulos Chilima’s are out there? Are you willing to take a leap of faith and dare where others have failed and conquer?
Be a Saulos Chilima and make it big in life. Take a risk. Don’t fear to lose what you have, there is more you can achieve if you believe in yourself.
Of course, it is not easy. There are obstacles along the way but who said life is easy? If you want honey dare the bee sting and as Christopher Columbus once said: “By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his or her chosen goal or destination…” The choice is yours.
If you’ve the desire to achieve greatness in life, Bring it on!
Are you Saulos Chilima?
- Mtumiki Woyamba is a Nyasa Times Columnist and a political and social Commentator based in the Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe.