Mulanje West Parliamentarian and interim UTM secretary general Patricia Kaliati has described the actions of the police at the Kamuzu Internation Airport in preventing the supporters from welcoming its leader Saulosi Chilima as misuse of force and authority and has stressed that Chilima will not resign as Vice-President of the Republic of Malawi.
There was huge presence of police officers in combat gear and armoured vehicles at the airport when Chilima arrived in the country from a seven-day visit to Britain.
The UTM supporters were prevented from entering the airport and were kept far away but this did not damp the spirit of the followers who chanted and danced in praise of their leader who had been in the UK for a week for a holiday.
“This is a sign that UTM is strong, they fear the strength of the UTM. However, their actions is also a blessing in disguise. They are marketing our movement. We wanted campaign directors throughout the country and these are the right campaign directors,” she mocked them.
The governing Democrtaic Progressive Party (DPP) and its sponsored organisations under the banner Joint Civil Society Platform on Governance (JCSPG) , the Malawi Human Rights Consultative Committee (MHRCC) and Forum for National Development (FND) have asked Chilima , accusing the Vice-president of drawing a salary and benefits from government without doing work.
The Vice-President, promoted as SKC, initials for his full name Saulos Klaus Chilima, broke ranks with the DPP June this year to form his UTM, citing massive corruption and theft of public resources in the government.
Kaliati said Chilima was elected Vice-President by Malawians after standing on the ballot with President Peter Mutharika in 2014.
She said government removed Chilima as minister of Disaster Management and head of Public Service Reforms and the President is not delegating him responsibilitied but “we are going to give him the job as Head of State when his tenure as vice-president ends May 21 2019.”
Kaliati added: “ Chilima will not resign until 2019 because he was chosen by Malawians And he will be given another contract, this time not deputy president but Head of State.”
She argued that Chilima was being sidelined by the DPP administration and duties that should have been rightfully delegated to the office of the VP were being delegated to others long before he resigned from the DPP and long before the establishment of UTM.
Kaliati said the VPs contract is with the people aand trying to pass off the JCSPG call for resignation as the will of the people is a laughable matter.
Commenttaors argue that holding meetings in Malawi and abroad, Chilima has not violated any law, saying whether he is in his office at Capital Hill or out of the country on personal leave, Chilima is still VP of the country.
“Even when he is addressing a gathering in his personal capacity, the fact that he is VP of the country does not cease to exist… Holding a democratically elected government accountable for its shortcomings is not anarchy and lawlessness, it is the very core of the principles of democracy.”
In his brief speech, Chilima urged people not to be intimidated and insisted Malawi is ripe for change, assuring that no one would rig elections next year.
Chilima, accompanied by his wife Mary, said the movement will not be moved and expressed optimism that they will make it as the country’s next government.
In 2005, former president and founder of DPP Bingu wa Mutharika also voluntarily dumped the United Democratic Front (UDF) which sponsored his presidential ticket in the 2004 General Elections and formed DPP. However, he did not resign as Head of State. His vice-president then, Cassim Chilumpha, remained UDF.
Immediate past president Joyce Banda also formed People’s Party (PP) in 2011 after being expelled from DPP, but continued to serve as vice-president.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :