State Vice president Saulos Chilima has urged Malawians to critically scrutinize running mates to the presidential hopeful, saying some of them might not be up to the job.
He said just like presidents, vice presidents should be well qualified for the job because they are expected to take over the presidency in the event that the president has died or is incapacitated.
“We should take the 2012 scenario when our former president Bingu wa Mutharika, may his soul rest in peace, was called to the Lord and Dr. Joyce Banda who was the vice president had to take over the presidency.
“This is how important the office of the vice president is. This is why we need to scrutinise the people vying for this office, they should be well qualified for the job and ready to take over the presidency in the event of eventualities,” said Chilima.
The UTM president did not say whom he was targeting for the remarks although some political experts say this was an indirect reference to Everton Chimulirenji, president Peter Mutharika’s running mate whom people say does not have prerequisite qualifications for the second most top job of the land.
Chimulirenji’s command of spoken English leaves a lot to be desired and some people allege that he has a junior certificate of Education as his highest academic education achievement.
As Chilima was indirectly attacking Chimulirenji during the Kasungu rally, Chimulirenji was directly attacking Chilima in Mzuzu, telling journalists that the vice president sponsored people to demolish Mutharika billboards and pull down DPP flags.
UTM publicity secretary Joseph Chidanti Malunga has dismissed Chimulirenji’s allegations as childish.
The choice of running mate has the potential to considerably boost or damage a presidential candidate’s chances. Malawian voters can’t be taken for granted.