Chilumpha sets the tempo for political dog-fight

People of Nkhotakota district have asked former State Vice President, Dr Cassim Chilumpha, to form his own political party so that he takes a break from being used by other parties.

The people observed that in almost all the political parties the embattled vice president had served, he had ended up being frustrated and ridiculed.

Speaking during a rally he addressed in the district on Friday after presenting his nomination papers for the May 20 elections, the people pitied the former vice president for the torture he had gone through under other political party leaders.Chilumpha (in the open vehicle) arriving at the DC's offices to present his papers

Chilumpha (right) signing his nomination forms
Chilumpha (right) signing his nomination forms

Chilumpha is contesting in Nkhotakota South Constituency (where he is the incumbent parliamentarian), on an independent ticket after he dumped the ruling People’s Party (PP) where he was vice president for the central region.

His main challenger is Minister of Justice, Fahad Assani, who will represent the PP. Other known contestants include business persons Glizelider Jeffrey and Olivia Liwewe.

Constituency Governor for Chilumpha camp, Yusufu Mwale, applauded the former vice president for dumping the ruling party which he described as disrespectful to people who had helped it grow.

Mwale reminded the gathering several people who had ditched the Peoples Party after being frustrated by the leadership.

“We are tired of living in rented houses because once the owner or children of the owner decide that they do not want you anymore, they chase you any time,” he said in parables.

“You always live in anxiety and this gives you an idea to build your own house even if it leaks, you still feel proud that you have your own house.”

But one of the independent aspiring councillors, Kennedy Njakama, told Chilumpha:  “Mr. Mwale is speaking in parables, let me make it known to you what he means. All the people in Nkhotakota are tired of being taken for granted. You have been a victim of in all these parties and all they are asking you now is that you must form your own political party. Everyone here will support you.”

His statement momentarily created madness as the gathering burst into jubilation- ululation, singing, dancing and hand-clapping- in support of the proposal.

Njakama noted that the People’s Party and United Democratic Front (UDF) had forgotten it was Chilumpha who brought and made them flourish in the district yet they ended up ridiculing him.

In his remarks, the former vice president indicated he was ready to buy the people’s proposition to have his “own” political party.

Chilumpha responded to the call with an example of a person who is on a journey.

“Imagine, you are going to Lilongwe and someone picks you from here and upon reaching Salima you are told he has changed direction. You board another vehicle and you are told the owner will first go to Chingeni then Lilongwe and when you reach Chingeni he tells, he doesn’t need your company.

“You can indeed think of at least buying your own even if it is old you will have full control over it so I’m ready to a form a party but I need your support,” said Chilumpha.

However, he started his speech with by roasting his opponents who have been going around telling people in the district that he had done nothing in his constituency and Nkhotakota in general.

Sounding irritated, Chilumpha summarized some of the developments he has brought to the constituency as well as the district during his tenure.

“Ask those who claim I have done nothing, who initiated the Nkhotakota District Hospital we have here, which is almost as big as the Kamuzu Central Hospital?

“Tell them of the many primary schools in my constituency, during my school days I used to walk from Chisoti to Nkhotakota Primary School, can someone do that now? There were only seven primary schools in 1994 and now we have over 40,” stated Chilumpha who served as vice president between June 2004 to May 2009 under late President Bingu wa Mutharika.

He further added that it was due to his efforts that all sub traditional authorities in the district were promoted to full traditional authorities with one senior chief just after he became Member of Parliament in the area in 1994 under the former ruling UDF party.

Chilumpha, who kept on quoting the Quran and Bible on how God chooses His kings to serve His people throughout his speech, said  “God doesn’t see the outlook of a person but the inside of him or her. This is how David and Samuel were chosen.”

And speaking to Nyasa Times after presenting his nomination papers to the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) for the May 20 elections, Chilumpha said he feared no candidate in the constituency which he has represented in parliament since 1994.

He however stated he was aware that the choice of who to represent the area lies with the voters.

“I will respect the people’s choice come 20 May,” said Chilumpha who was the last to submit the papers.

The presentation of nomination papers for president aspirants, members of parliaments (MP’s) and ward councilors started on Monday and Chilumpha’s main opponent, Fahadi Assani, of People’s Party was the first to file.

Chilumpha (in the open vehicle) arriving at the DC's offices to present his papers
Chilumpha (in the open vehicle) arriving at the DC’s offices to present his papers

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