Vice President Saulos Chilima who arrived in London on Sunday is not attending the London Political Summit as earlier planned and publicised but will among other things speak at the Chatham House on Public Service and Accountability on Wednesday and address students at Cambridge University, his spokesman had said.
Chilima was reportedly scheduled to deliver a keynote address at a London Political Summit and Awards ceremony. He was also reported to have been invited to speak at an awards ceremony where Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and former prime minister Raila Odinga will be decorated with the Black History Month and African Peace Award following their peace accord handshake which ended political hostility after Kenya’s 2017 election.
However, press officer in the Office of the Vice-President, Pilirani Phiri, told Nyasa Times in an interview from London that those are not the engagements Chilima would undertake.
“There are a number private and public engagements that the Vice President would undertake but the London Political Summit is not one of them,” he said.
The Vice President is also expected to hold talks with Malawians in diaspora as well separately meet members of the UTM UK chapter which is led by Dr Aubrey Makhalira.
He said details of the meetings will be announced when venue and times have been confirmed.
Chilima arrived in UK Sunday with only his security detail.
The Vice-President, who is also leading the newly formed United Transformation Movement (UTM) that is promoting his ticket in the presidential race in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections, has used his private resources to meet the costs of the trip. He returns home on October 21.
The trip comes at a time when there bad blood between President Peter Mutharika and Chilima ahead of the 2019 elections where the two will square off at the ballot after the Vice-President broke ranks with the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on June 6 this year and formed UTM .
The UTM has completely changed the political landscape ahead of the elections.