Some sections of the society are asking Vice President Saulos Chilima to break his silence on calls from former first lady Callista Mutharika to have him as the presidential candidate for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the 2019 polls.
Political commentator Humphrey Mvula said Chilima’s silence is putting the life of Callista and others at risk.
“The vice president cannot just remain silent as his followers are getting death threats,” Mvula said.
Mvula urged Chilima to make his position known; otherwise, his style of politics—of putting his cards close to the chest—would put some individuals that have come out to support him at risk.
“He must understand that individuals have taken a risk on his behalf,” he said.
But a member of the Political Scientists Association of Malawi, Patricia Khonje observed that Callista’s opinion has no implication on the DPP leadership because it was only her personal view.
“Her opinion has no scientific basis, so it would be difficult to tell whether her comments would have any impact on the DPP leadership,” she said.
Some people in different social media platforms are also asking Chilima to break his silence on the matter.
Vice president’s spokesman Pilirani Phiri said the veep is not obliged to comment on the issue.
Meanwhile, officials from the association of former members of parliament have sprung up to ask the government to protect Callista Mutharika following an unidentified man in social media who said he would giver her “jakison wa agalu”, apparently insinuationg that he will harm her.
Secretary general of the association of former legislators Ronald Chamthunya said the police should be deployed to protect her.
Callista has been making headlines since last week when she openly said her in-law is “aged”; hence, Malawians should not give him their vote and install Chilima as President instead.
Asked why she is not supporting President Peter Mutharika, who is her in-law, Callista said: “Should I be supporting somebody just because he is my family?”
But Callista, who said Chilima was the country’s hope for a better future, said she has not met him over this matter.
“I have not met him at all, but as I said, I believe he is the right person to lead the party,” she said.
Local press reported that Chilima-for-President crusade t is gaining support and possibly turn into a movement— and quoting analysts saying Mutharika and Chilima’s relationship is likely to worsen as the President gets uncomfortable with what could be a primary challenge should the Vice President act on the calls to seek the presidency.
Catholic University of Malawi political commentator Nandin Patel said Callista’s endorsement of Chilima signals that the 2019 elections will be highly competitive as seen by the Mutharika-Chilima tension now worsened by the former First Lady’s stance.
“The tension has always been there. As we are heading towards the elections, each political party, as bound by their constitution, will be going for a convention and two or three individuals will compete for particular positions. Here a member of the party is coming out to endorse someone for presidency and it should be taken in that line. In this case, it tells you there will be heavy competition in the 2019 elections build up,” said Patel as quoted by The Nation.
However, presidential press secretary and spokesperson Mgeme Kalilani, said there is no way Callista’s Chilima-for-President crusade can compromise the working relationship between the President and his Vice.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :