Malawi High Commission in London shunned Vice-President Saulos Chilima during his visit to United Kingdom the whole of last week as they did not provide any services to him and support.
Chilima was in the United Kingdom (UK) on holiday where he travelled on Sunday and is expected back in Malawi this Sunday October 21.
The Malawi High Commission did not welcome or provide transport to Chilima even attend any of his functions on instructions from Malawi government to “stay away”.
The Vice-President, who is also leading the newly formed United Transformation Movement (UTM) that is promoting his ticket in the presidential race in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections, had gone to UK for a holiday and performing “private” engagements.
A special assistant to the Vice-President on economic affairs Milward Tobias, confirmed that Chilima did not use tax payers money on his trip in which he had a delegation of five people.
In UK he was seen taking public transport to commute such as a train from London to Northampton when he went to engage the Malawians Diaspora community.
This is not the first time for a State vice-president to be shunned by Malawi diplomats at the London mission. When Joyce Banda was vice-president to late Bingu wa Mutharika in 2012 after she broke ranks with the ruling party, she was also shunned on her tour with her husband former Chief Justice Richard Banda for a medical treatment.
Few weeks later, Banda became the first female president of Malawi, when she took office in following the death of Bingu and her first trip in a month in power was UK where the diplomats at the High Commission, this time around were jostling each other to be seen who is working hard to serve her.
Chilima took advantage of his one week self-funded holiday to seek international credibility and London is an important platform where he had time engaging some distinctly English and internationally highbrow institutions.
He among other things addressed the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House in London which analyses and promotes understanding of international issues affairs and has hosted many world leaders including Malawian President Peter Mutharika, his predecessors Joyce Banda and the late Bingu wa Mutharika.
Chilima also met British peers and Scotland Malawi Partnership group at House of Lords in London.
Former First Minister Jack McConnell hailed Chilima for what he described as a strong analysis of development in Malawi during their meeting.
McConnell, who is life peer in Britain’s House of Lords, tweeted: “Very strong analysis of current developments in Malawi from VP Chilima in London today”.
Chilima was also featured on BBC’s flagship interview program HardTalk which generated interest to Malawians and dominated debate on how he handled it.
The Vice-President broke ranks with the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on June 6 this year and declared he will challenge President Peter Mutharika in the presidential race in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
Chilima—whom President Peter Mutharika picked as running mate in January 2014 where he served as Airtel Malawi managing director—had a visibly rosy relationship with the establishment until his declaration and the President subsequently stripped him of his Cabinet portfolio of Minister Responsible for Disaster Management Affairs and in-charge of National Public Events.
Since his declaration, Chilima has been sidelined from official engagements, including seeing off and welcoming the President, stirring debate among legal scholars on the position and status of the Vice-President.
Section 80 (3) of the Constitution provides that the Vice-President shall be elected concurrently with the President and the name of a candidate for the Vice-President shall appear on the same ballot paper as that of the presidential candidate who nominated him/her.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :