The office of the Vice President; especially when you are working with Joyce Banda has become a vigorous political office because it affords the incumbent, amazing prospects to contribute to national and international policy formulation. Vice President, Khumbo Kachali is probably the most travelled among the past three Vice Presidents who were not given the same chances to prove their mettle both locally and internationally by their sitting Presidents.
However, lately, the conventional media has been awash with articles projecting the, Vice President, Khumbo Kachali as a disgruntled and sulking would be running mate who is ready to play spoiler soon after the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections.
These interviews are specifically and spitefully designed to play on the psychology of the Vice President by whipping up resentment in him towards the President and the Peoples’ Party.
In the first place, Dr. Joyce Banda was not going to use sentiment or political romanticism to make a very tough decision of choosing a running mate. The decision was both business which was the bottom line and political in nature. And it is nowhere recorded that Monsieur Khumbo Kachali run for the Vice Presidency like his brother, Sidik Mia that business tycoon, who ended up hawking himself to MCP, UDF and DPP in anger after the magic wand had fallen on Sosten Gwengwe.
And if I can recall correctly, Kachali was appointed by President Banda to serve as Vice President for the two years she was completing after the demise of Bingu Daniel Phiri Mutharika. There are many reasons the President made that decision and since then the paradigm has shifted so that it would be unfair for anybody to suggest that the President did not have any confidence in the incumbent Vice President.
Just like he rightly said to Daily Times in the Tuesday Edition of April 1 2014, that it is the President’s prerogative to choose a running mate; the President used the same to look at various permutations, factors and prevailing circumstances for her to arrive at the new Tony Blair, youthful Sosten Gwengwe.
And in her defense the President has never at any point suggested to anybody who is anyone that she had no confidence in her sitting Vice President. Moreover, at the time President Banda was ostracized from government by Bingu ‘Daniel Phiri’ Mutharika and his brother Peter Boko Haram Mutharika, Sosten Gwengwe’s political star was on the upward trajectory.
It is common belief that Vice Presidential candidates should be bankable and have extensive and stirring national appeal, perhaps not sensational in the Joe Gwaladi and Joseph Mkasa vogue, but politically rousing nevertheless.
Sosten Gwengwe’s nomination was correctly looked upon as a master swing of ingenuity because he was among the new breed of modern politicians and a notable and resourceful contributor from the MCP stables in Parliament despite being a relatively new face on the hurtful Malawian political arena.
Today Gwengwe perfectly reproduces Joyce Banda’s theme of distinction, transformative leadership, generational conversion and honor. Neither did the Vice President, in his attempt to sound unconcerned, explain the steps he took to position himself for selection for the second spot on JB’s ticket in 2014 nor did he describe the grounds on which he was not considered for the same in order to clear any speculations that are possibly damaging to his standing as a man of integrity.
Certainly, no one observing his behavior this year would be brave enough to proclaim that Kachali was running for the Vice Presidency of the May 20 2014, Tripartite Elections. He was clearly not auditioning for the Vice Presidency basing on his inability to stage market himself in the Sidik Mia mold. It should be noted here that it is possible for one to be an exciting politician but unpresidential. So Joyce Banda was likely looking for a significant running mate and not otherwise.
The selection of Sosten Gwengwe has thrilled Malawians of all age brackets by suggesting that the views of the youth will have a presidential campaigner. The excitement surrounding the Gwengwe pick at both ends of the political range does not prosecute the wisdom of JB’s selection. And so far Gwengwe is proving to be a competent and current candidate whose presence is contributing enormously to the existing success of the Peoples’ Party campaign.
The belief that the, Vice President, Khumbo Hastings Kachali, should have been the running mate on Dr. Joyce Banda’s presidential ticket, comes in part from the wrong belief by some ignorant media practitioners to remember and assume as imperative to consider for selection those that were in seclusion with Dr. Joyce Banda but whose performance was viewed quite differently and out of sympathy at the time.
I am aware of individuals who were given positions of influence but have showed and depicted themselves to be wonkish and wooden masters and exponents of stationary Ndombolo. Yet Joyce Banda’s nonconformist choice of a young man with lots of guts and grit from the millennial generation was a galvanizing gambit of extraordinary magnitudes. The announcement was absorbing further than the anticipations of the Peoples’ Party campaign.
It armor-plated characteristics of Dr. Joyce Banda’s own profile to such a degree that they have both embarked on an excursion that is fittingly outlining and thrusting the Peoples’ Party campaign forward, and at no point has Gwengwe gone rascal or wandered away from the transformative message in an attempt to overshadow his mentor, Dr. Joyce Banda.
In her choice of a running mate, JB was not looking for a political variety of Kofi Olomide, but that did not mean that she had to choose a tranquilizing running mate.
- The views expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Nyasa Times. Contributors are invited to write on opinion columns on any topical subject.