Vice President Saulos Chilima has said that his United Transformation Movement (UTM) will facilitate the amendment of the Republican Constitution to give the office of the vice president more authority and certainty and not be dependent of the Head of State.
“I do not want my deputy to go through what I have gone through and others before me have gone through,” said Chilima at a political rally on Sunday at Ntcheu Secondary School ground which is near his Nsipe home village.
Chilima who punctuated the speech with his trademark proberbs, said there was need to empower and respect the office of the vice president.
He said currently the office has been rendered useless and is ceremonial since the duties are delegated by the President.
“Office of the Vice President has been riduled and disrespected for 25 years now. This will stop when I become president next year. I will facilitate the amendment of the Constitution to change the office from vice president to deputy president in order to give the office more authority and ceratinity,” said Chilima.
“As president, I will also ensure that between my office and that of the deputy president, no other office or person assumes more power in between because once that happens, the deputy president loses authority and becomes unable to effectively execute their mandate,” he added.
Chilima gave an example of the United States of America where a vice-president is president of the Senate, a powerful police of lawmaking body of government.
He also said UTM will make sure the the Vice President is allocated the Mtunthama State Residence which is now idle and only reserved for visiting Heads of States even though there are predential villas for the visitors.
” I will be the last Veep to be subjected to this il ltreatment and disrepect to this office. Things will change from May next year,” he declared.
Chilima said giving the Veep office duties and respect will help honour the work that a runningmate does together with the presidentail candidate to run a campaign and contribution to election victory..
” If we can not do this, then I suggest that we change the Constitution so that presidential candidates go to the polls and campaign alone without runningmates,” he said.
Chilima, who quit the ruling Democratic Progressive Party(DPP) in June, is seeking to contest for the presidency in the 2019 elections.
But veteran politician and now a member of the DPP, Brown Mpinganjira said the Constitution should be amended to allow the president to hire and fire a vice president, as is done with cabinet ministers.
“We need to allow the president to dismiss the vice president so that there is mutual respect between the two,” said Mpinganjira recently on Times TV.
He noted that all the four presidents in multiparty Malawi have had failed to click with their vice presidents. “All four cannot be bad people. There is something wrong that is structural so let’s correct that from the constitution,” said Mpinganjira .
In 2005, late president Bingu wa Mutharika fell out with his vice Cassim Chilumpha when the latter refused to leave the United Democratic Front, the party that ushered them into government, after Mutharika formed the DPP.
Chilumpha was even charged with treason, the case which did not see the light of the day due for lack of evidence.
Former Malawi president Joyce Banda, also formed her party when she was fired from the ruling DPP party, which was at the time led by the late President Bingu wa Mutharika.
Banda was Bingu’s deputy by the time she was fired in his second term of office, Banda then became president when Bingu died in April 2012.
The first Malawian female president’s relationship with her deputy Khumbo Kachali also turned sour in 2014 after she overlooked him as her running mate in the run up to the 2014 elections.
President Bakili Muluzi who was Malawi’s first freely elected president, serving from 1994 to 2004 was deputised by Justin Malewezi.
They got on well for nine years but in 2004 Malewezi resigned from the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) when Muluzi named Bingu as his successor.
Malawi’s constitution provides for a presidential system whereby the president is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system.
Section 80 subsection 4 of the Malawi Constitution says: “The First Vice-President shall be elected concurrently with the President and the name of a candidate for the First Vice President shall appear on the same ballot paper as the name of the Presidential candidate who nominated him.”
The president is chosen through universal direct suffrage every 5 years.
The President has the option of appointing a second vice president, who must be from a different party.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :