Vice-President Saulos Chilima on Wednesday addressed the world-renowned think tank Chatham House in London and promised to implement dual citizenship “one day one” as President after the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
Chilima, who is leading United Transformation Movement (UTM), after he ditched the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in June and will challenge President Peter Mutharika in the presidential polls, said Malawi is at a juncture for change.
In his speech at the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House headquarters in prestigious St James’s Square, just a short walk from Buckingham Palace, Chilima themed his address: “How to generate political and public will to influence change in a complex democracy.”
He said those holding positions and their surrogates use every asset at their disposal to “blindfold, deceive and manipulate” the public especially in society like Malawi where illiteracy, poverty and destitution are high and citizens have limited analytical ability.
Chilima said the manipulations would include denying citizens access to information so they are less aware of what is happening; how much resources are available and what is being delivered.
“Manipulation further heightens to recruiting sympathisers including civil society organisations to speak in favour of the ruling elite and defend actions of the ruling elite even if such actions are harmful to economy and citizens,” he said.
But the Vice President said the movement for change will be unstoppable and that he stands ready to act beyond nepotism and cryonics.
“Nepotism has own beneficiaries, leadership incompetence has own beneficiaries and the beneficiaries numerically few as they may be would wield much economic power and afford to ‘hire’ mercenaries to speak in public media on their defence,” he said.
Chilima said there is growing evidence in Malawi that shows “citizenry fatigue” with status quo and “growing desperation for hope and change.”
He said the question is whether the larger part of the public is ready to prevail over tribal, nepotistic and regional considerations in favour of national considerations.
Chilima said since the launch of UTM for which he is the leader, the movement has established that the situation in Malawi is “ripe for change.”
He said the public is “ready to act beyond tribalism and regionalism.”
During his talk the issue of dual-citizenship was also tackled and Chilima told the audience that he will implement it “on day one” as the country’s President.
He said dual citizenship is something that is good in itself and for the effects it can have on a state.
Dual citizenship makes it possible for people with multi-national identities to retain those identities. It also makes it possible for such people to fulfil their obligations to the countries they are affiliated to.
Chilima wants to address lacunas in the current constitution that undermine democracy and democratic efforts when he takes power.
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