One of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) top officials in so-called Chilima Movement pushing for the candidacy of Vice-President Saulos Chilima in the 2019 elections, Patricia ‘Akweni’ Kaliati has said Chilima made a brilliant decision to abort his plans to vie for DPP party presidency, saying the playing field was not leveled.
In an interview, Kaliati who is Mulanje West MP, said by withdrawing from the DPP poll charade, he has spared the spilling of blood.
“The decision is a true reflection of a true leadership. Some of the boys the DPP has not paid came to us and told us of the sinister plans at the convention,” the former Cabinet Minister said.
Kaliati said the movement would not disband after Chilima’s withdrawal from the DPP presidential race but would be strengthened awaiting the next Chilima political move.
She predicted there would be mass exodus to the movement from the DPP.
Chilima also disclosed that he will not attend the much awaited convention.
“For now as the DPP has announced that it is holding its convention in June, I have decided not to contest for any position in DPP at the forthcoming party’s convention, let alone challenge the party’s presidency,” he said.
He also took advantage of the conference to wish all delegates to the convention the best of luck and God’s blessings as they chart a new chapter in the DPP.
This is the first time that Chilima, 45, has addressed the nation amid rising tension in the country two months after the former first lady Callista Mutharika endorsed him for presidency thanks to an unprecedented leadership challenge his backers in the ruling party have mounted against his boss and the incumbent president, Peter Mutharika.
Callitsa urged his brother in-law President Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika, 79, to step down citing old age to continue with a political career.
Chilima, therefore, thanked President Mutharika for choosing him as the DPP presidential running mate in the 2014 elections.
He said it is in the spirit of serving the nation that he, four years ago, left the private sector and joined politics to put in his shift.
“At that time, I accepted to partner Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika and successfully run on the ticket of the DPP. Although this was a huge personal sacrifice, it surely pales in comparison to the incredible sacrifices of our forbearers,” said Chilima.
Chilima started reading out his prepared statement with a history of the road to Malawi’s independence through the fight and sacrifices that the county’s forefathers from all corners of the country undertook to bring the freedom the country enjoys today.
He, however, expressed concern, claiming it was sad to note that though our forefathers fought for the country; Malawi has been destroyed through nepotism.
Asked why he has decided not to contest despite calls by some quarters in the DPP for him to stand as the party’s torch bearer in the 2019 polls, the Vice President said it is a personal decision which he has made.
“The decision I have made is not out of fear as some quarters are saying, but I do not want to be seen to be causing confusion. I do not want to be perceived to fight the owners of the party,” he said.
Chilima has since not made any indication of contesting in the 2019 polls whether through a political party or an independent candidate.
Meanwhile, some sympathizers of the Vice President have formed what is dubbed as Chilima Movement to drum up support for the second citizen.
Asked if his decision will not frustrate his followers, the vice president said it is humbling for people to consider him as a presidential material but said could not answer on their behalf.
He observed that the people behind that are Malawians who are exercising their freedom which he said is acceptable in a democracy.
He emphasized that the people behind the Chilima Movement are not sent by him but are doing so on their own accord.
“Let me thank the special people who have created a movement dubbed Chilima Movement for the courage and determination shown to date. I’m humbled with the confidence they have placed in me. I’m sure they are following a cause and that is democracy,” said the vice president.
Chilima, therefore, urged all Malawians of voting age to participate in the forthcoming general elections by registering in order to vote.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :