Political commentators have delivered a stinging indictment of President Peter Mutharika’s running mate in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections, Everton Chimulirenji, saying he is “grovelling too much” in his attempt to make Mutharika understand how grateful he is for being picked as running mate.
The comments are following Chimulirenji’s first public rally in Ntcheu on Sunday since Mutharika unveiled him as his running mate on February 8.
The rally was broadcast live on private-owned Times TV and Chimulirenji glorified Mutharika for choosing him and said those who are whingeing should move on.
“I accepted wholeheartedly to be running mate. I have heard some people ridiculing me. Those that are speaking bad things let them speak,” he said.
The Ntcheu North East legislator hinted that Mutharika has been grooming him and there were no qualms from the Lhomwe axis of power.
“Where were the disgruntled Lhomwes when the professor sent me to Cairo on educational visit. I stayed there with my wife for a month and a half. The President has also been assigning me on foreign trips for political missions.”
He also wondered where were the disgruntled Lhomwes when “a pulofesa” appointed him deputy minister of defence and then later appointed him a full Cabinet Minister.
Delivering his sharp critique of Mutharika’s partner speech, Stanley Onjezani Kenani writing on Facbeook faulted Chimulirenji’s “ grovelling” about this appointment, saying it is obscuring important messages that are within his entire speech.
He said some voters will be worried that such a person will be a heartbeat away from the presidency.
Kenani wrote:“ He seems to understand his role as a domestic worker in the Mutharika household. He literally said, ‘The president has taken me into his household.’ One might think that that was figurative, but no. He is the type that will be a mere errand boy, the one you send to buy a box of matches at a nearby corner shop. Chimulirenji will have no guts to advise the President to take a better course of action. Anything the professor says to him will be sacrosanct.”
He also observed that Chimulirenji contradicts himself when on one hand he says Malawians should avoid mentioning tribes, then right in the next sentence, he asks his tribe to vote for Mutharika.
“Which is which?”
Commenting on the matter, Idris Ali Nasser wrote that listening to Chimulirenji on Sunday, it was clear the man is not a national political figure of substance.
“Instead he was more comfortable playing the very base of tribal and village politics: ‘vote for me because I am one of yours, I am from here. I have a house here’.”
Nasser pointed out that beyond the perfunctory mention of the word “development” and expressions of excessive grovelling and gratitude to Mutharika for choosing him, “it’s hard to define what this man stands for and what his ideas and ideas are, both as an individual and should he become part of the collective that the presidency is.”
The commentator argue that “DPP apologists will want you to believe that Chimulirenji was chosen for some exceptional abilities that only they can see. Maybe it’s true. But it’s also self-evident that the DPP had a wide pool of upstanding minds and individuals to choose from. Yet, for some reason the party and its supporters are struggling to explain, the choice was Everton.”
He continued: “To the sceptic, the Chimulirenji project is to protect a handful of people close to President Mutharika who have looted Malawi and made themselves rich beyond the dreams of avarice. It was made with 2023 in mind. These people fear facing real charges of corruption, abuse of state resources for personal gain, unexplained wealth and, possibly, official misconduct.
“The sweet irony of all this is that by picking a flawed, unpopular and polarizing Chimulirenji, they risk losing power because they wanted someone to protect that which they stole when they were in power.”
Meanwhile, the leading daily newspaper, The Nation, in an editorial comment faulted government’s conduct for beefing up Chimulirenji’s security detail as he now has five armed Police Mobile Service (PMS) officers, four more than his entitlement.
The paper said beefing up of security should not be paid by taxpayers, saying constitutionally, the country has one President in Peter Mutharika and Vice President in Saulos Chilima who were duly elected in the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections.
Chilima fell out with Mutharika and is challenging him in the presidential race on UTM Party ticket.
But the paper pointed out that, legally, Malawians gave Mutharika and Chilima the mandate until May 21 this year.
“Isn’t it also ironic that while police struggles to undertake regular patrols and swift crime call responses due to ‘lack of resources’, the same government is able to provide four more officers to a Cabinet minister simply because he is running mate?” reads the comment in part.
Minister of Information and Communication Technology Henry Mussa told journalists after the Ntcheu rally that there were precedents before with regard to running mates of sitting Presidents, including legislator Sosten Gwengwe during former president Joyce Banda’s administration in 2014.
But the paper said that argument does not hold water “as they say two things do not make a right.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :