Vice President Saulos Chilima, who is also UTM Party presidential flag bearer in May 21 watershed elections, has asked Malawians not to vote for those who snubbed the presidential debates Friday evening, saying it is an ‘insult’ to Malawians to vote for people who have shown ‘clearly’ that they do not want the job.
Chilima, in veiled reference to President Peter Mutharika who did not attend any of the three presidential debates, said the people who were attending the presidential debates were asking for a job from Malawians and those who snubbed the debates are not interested in the job.
“What we are doing here (the presidential debates) is very serious because we want to have a better Malawi. So those who did not come here for this debate are clearly not interested in this job and therefore you should not vote for them,” said Chilima.
Apart from Mutharika, Tikonze Alliance presidential candidate Cassim Chilumpha also snubbed the debates.
Chilima was composed throughout the debate and easily and politely shrugged off some attempts to ridicule him from little known Peter Kuwani of Mbakuwaku Movement for Development (MMD) party.
“Records are there for all to see. I was sacked for my good performance. People on this platform have even hailed me for the role I played during the public reforms programme,” said Chilima.
When an excited Kuwani suggested that Chilima is still paid government money despite being ‘sacked’, Chilima put him in his place.
“We have government records at Capital Hill, just go there and find out if the office of the Vice president is being funded,” said a cool and confident Chilima.
Exuding his confidence of winning the watershed may elections, Chilima retaliated his stance that there will be only one winner in the elections and it will be him.
“I didn’t know that there will be two winners in this election! I will be sworn in on May 24 at Bingu Stadium as the winner of these elections,” said Chilima with confidence.
During the debate, Chilima underscored his pledge of giving a 30 day amnesty to the people who stole government money to pay back before they are prosecuted.
He also talked about the creation of 1 million jobs within the first year of his presidency, payment of K15 000 gratuity to people who will retire from 65 years and above and also supporting the youth in the country hinting he will take the youth portfolio in his Cabinet.
Chilima also said he will end the constant fights that have punctuated the presidency between the Head of State and the second-in-command.
“My Vice president will be staying at Mtunthama State Residence (in Lilongwe) and there will be no fights between me and my Vice,” said Chilima who fell out of grace with President Mutharika.
Chilima also said it is wrong to put names of individuals to government saying Malawi will remain Malawi Government not ‘Mutharika Government’.
“We only change the parties running government but it remains Malawi government. This country has no shareholders, it is for all Malawians and this country should not be governed by a few families, no, everyone has a right to govern this country as long as they are qualified to do so,” said Chilima.
He stressed that Malawi is not meant for just a few families but must be for all Malawians.
Throughout the debate, despite some deliberate scorn from Umodzi party Presidential candidate John Chisi and Kuwani, Chilima remained calm as he answered questions with his wife, Mary, dressed immaculately listening attentively to the debate in the background.
“I was sacked from government because of my good performance,” he said while responding to Chisi’s assertions that Chilima is serving in a failed Mutharika-led government.
Among his electoral promises, Chilima said he will his first 100 days in office reduce presidential motorcade to a convoy of six vehicles, end education quota system and provide education bursaries.
Chilima promised that UTM will make sure that every Malawian will have an opportunity to feel that they belong to this country and enjoy the fruits of equality. He is promising that his UTM policies will be based on merit and deal away with the nepotism.
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