United Transformation Movement (UTM) secretary General Patricia Kalitai has said Vice President Saulos Chilima has made the Peter Mutharika administration preoccupied with issues he is raising in his UTM rallies that forms part of his electoral pledge.
Speaking at a political rally at Nyambadwe Primary School Ground in Miranda Township, Blantyre on Saturday, and Kaliati said since Chilima launched UTM, there is an expectation from Malawians that he will provide strategic leadership to steer the country to unprecedented economic growth and development.
“This is why MG1 (The President) is paying attention to what MG2 (Vice President) is saying so that he can keep up the game. If MG2 does a new hairdo, the MG1 is copy the style. Stay in your lane,” she said.
Kaliati, who is also Member of Parliament (MP) for Mulanje West Constituency, fondly known as Akweni, urged Chilima to roll out his strategies of brining access to safe drinking water and ensure more people should own decent homes with 24 hours of electricity supply throughout the year
Chilima guaranteed that he will ensure that including that every person will have access to social and economic services; quality education, health care and adequate and nutritious food.
Kaliati said in an interview that UTM will take into the villages and the grassroots the gospel of the tripod promise of transformation, opportunities and prosperity that undergird Chilima’s vision for the country.
“We will step on every blade of grass in every village in the rural outlays where the majority of our people live with UTM message,” she said.
Meanwhile, a newspaper columnist has observed that every time Chilima goes at a political rally, he raises an issue that ends up dominating public discourse for months.
Writing in his Cut the Chuff column in Weekend Nation, Ephraim Munthali observed that point about creating one million jobs within one year of assuming government control if he wins in next year’s tripartite elections, created so much controversy—and buzz—that even today, it remains the single most talked about policy proposal that has stuck in people’s minds.
He also noted that Chilima stalked people’s anger towards Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom).
“In condemning fraud and corruption—the vices in which Escom has become their poster child—Chilima claimed, and the power utility later confirmed, that 3.8 million litres of diesel worth K1.9 billion had disappeared at Escom.
“Today, the Escom diesel scandal is still one of the most talked about issues and continues to be portrayed as one of the many faces of corruption under the watch of President Peter Mutharika and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP),” write the paper’seditor.
Just a week ago, the Vice-President sparked a pigeon peas firestorm that has joined the public discourse arena, attracted parliamentary hearings and has since forced Finance, Economic Planning and Development Minister Goodall Gondwe to call for a press conference to address the matter, the columnist noted.
He writes that, Chilima has made the Mutharika administration preoccupied with explaining things such as where the money for buying the produce has come from and who it is really benefitting because there are reports that it is big DPP businesspeople loyalists who will benefit, not the farmers.
“As the DPP takes a defensive posture in some corner somewhere at Capitol Hill, the UTM war room is probably preparing another assault to keep them pinned to that pigeon peas corner, with no room and title to launch its own attack,” writes Munthali.
He argued that Chilima is successfully building a damaging narrative—creating a caricature of the DPP as a morally bankrupt and corrupt regime that does not care about the little guy—the voter.
“The Vice-President has become the guy who decides what issues must be debated during the campaign and the rest of the politicians follow, but on his terms,” he writes.
The columnist pointed out that Chilima has managed to draw the attention of the news media and the general public to discuss issues they otherwise would never have raised, certainly not with the same urgency of now.
“In other words, he has boosted the weight of those issue considerations when voters choose candidates. Make no mistake: the issues that candidates—and then the news media—discuss have strong potential to become voter priorities, greatly influence voting behaviour and shape what these days has become the first 100 days of an administration.”
The columnist wrote that Chilima is is making people listen to him, which increases voters’ impressions of him as well.
He further said DPP is following Chilima’s UTM like “a puppy” and like the rest of the opposition parties such as Malawi Congress (MCP), which is even trying to copy UTM’s party regalia of red.
“Thus, in terms of the agenda-setting war, Chilima is winning this thing. Whether it can win him an election next year is another matter altogether,” writes Munthali.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :