A determined looking Vice President Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima, who is heading the now fast-growing United Transformation Movement (UTM), on Sunday proved his oratorical prowess when he addressed bumper crowds at Njamba Freedom Park in Blantyre where he strongly put it that a “new Malawi is possible” as he reiterated his stance against corruption.
Chilima confidently, amid clapping and ululation from the supporters, told the gathering that UTM was “seriously determined” to turn-tables around for the country, saying he will not shield anyone involved in corruption when UTM takes over government next year.
The vice-president, who quit the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in protest at alleged corruption, maintained that DPP is infested with “rampant corruption and theft.”
Chilima further called for investigation against corrupt practices in government and parastatals such as the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Eskom).
“The contract to supply generators to ESCOM was not awarded on merit,” said Chilima calling for thorough independent investigations as DPP benefitted.
Chilima pointed out that three million litres of fuel meant for generators was recently stolen at Escom
He said the investigations should be extended to Blantyre Water Board (BWB) for the Mulanje-Blantyre Water Project which aims to tap water from Mulanje Mountain to supply water to Chiradzulu and areas surrounding Blantyre.
“There are board members and Ministry of Finance officials who wanted the contractor to be changed there. From there, I will give them another list of institutions where they need to investigate,” he said.
The UTM leader said there is a lot of rot to be investigated at Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc).
Chilima said next year UTM will arrest all thieves including all who benefitted in contracts awarded to parastatal.
“Malawi is in the dark because of selfish leaders. Malawi is moving backwards. People are struggling for electricity and water,” he pointed out.
The country’s second-in command said he will continue to expose corruption in public, saying his efforts to advise government in the same have yielded no fruits due to what he said “obstinate” leadership.
Chilima said the money that is being stolen could have been used to construct schools and hospitals.
He said it was not that Malawi was impossible to change but that it was the leadership that was a problem.
The UTM leader urged Malawians to vote wisely in next year’s watershed elections.
“Let’s transform Malawi,” he said.
Chilima said national broadcaster MBC, Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra), Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) and state grain trader Admarc should be set free.
According to Chilima, a new Malawi where access to land for all people, good medication, good education for everyone and respect for the rule of law, was just a stone throw away after the forthcoming May 21 tripartite polls.
“It is not on that indigenous Malawians fail to access land in their own country. We need to be careful when selling land because we will end up losing all land to foreigners,” he said.
He spoke strongly about leadership in the country.
“Leaders deserve respect, but we must never worship them. We must never lick their boots. We elect them to serve us, not for them to lord over us,” said Chilima.
He quashed speculations from some DPP quarters that UTM was stealing from their manifesto, saying, for example, they will offer more than just cheap cement and iron sheets.
“We are different. We will make sure the economy is good so that Malawians can ably buy cheap cement and iron sheets to easily build decent houses on their own,” he said.
“We want stable prices for farm produce on the market. Farmers must start enjoying the fruits of their labour,” he said. “Our farm products must be processed in Malawi.”
Chilima also denounced nepotism, saying civil servants should be hired on merit not because they are related to officials from a ruling party.
On health, the Veep said Malawi should be able to hire enough nurses and doctors because the country has the potential.
“We have money in this country but priorities are upside down,” he noted.
On UTM plans for the country, he reiterated that it will create 1 million jobs within a year as well as improve the nation’s education and health systems.
“We know how to do it and I repeat we will do it. Don’t ask me how because I am not gonna solve the equation for you,” said Chilima.
“We will also construct good government buildings and a state of the art railway transport system,” he added.
The 45-year old, moving forward, UTM will field 193 aspiring MPs in all constituencies in the country, all wards in the country for aspiring councilors and a presidential candidate.
“To show that we are serious about this, we will pay nomination fees for all these candidates [to the Malawi Electoral Commission] in advance,” he said.
Before urging people to register in large numbers in the ongoing voter registration exercise to be able to vote in the elections and remove “thieves”, Chilima threw out a proverb as has been his style of being witty and humorous orator .
He said: “When you see hungry goat running away from green pasture it was feeding on, just know there must be dangerous ants hiding in the grass.”
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