Malawi VP Chilima’s rising profile rattles some DPP members

There is growing discomfort among some senior members of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) over Vice President Dr Saulos Kalus Chilima’s recent rising political profile and well-received speeches during public appearances, Nyasa Times understands.

Chilima speaking during a public lecture at Chancellor College

Gomwe: Chilima may be preparing for the worst case scenario

According to a senior DPP NGC member privy to the scenario, they are weary of what they suspect is the Vice President’s deliberate urge to “undermine” President Peter Mutharika while building his political profile ahead of 2019.

Chilima  made headlines recently when he inspected what he called “sub-standard” K290 million Tengani Dyke in Nsanje and blasted contractors and project managers for the shoddy work and, just last week, did what most politicians would be too afraid to do: telling off some flood-hit Lilongwe residents to leave their areas, which are regarded as illegal settlements.

He has also kept a tight schedule, including attending the Catholic’s pre-valentine fundraising dinner, teeing off at the Polytechnic Alumni Charity Golf Tournament and presenting a public lecture titled “Addressing Moral Decadence: Towards an Effective Compliance and Ethics Programme” at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College in Zomba.

The public lecture was organised by the College’s Department of Philosophy and open to students, the public and the media.

The NGC member—who asked not to be named to freely provide the thinking of her fellow senior DPP members—noted that by ‘chastising’ moral decadence, including corruption, as “behaviour that shows a love of self-indulgence, pleasure and money”, is being viewed in the ruling party as an attempt by the Vice President to indirectly take a dig at the very issues that the DPP government stands accused of.

The public rebukes are being seen by some DPP gurus as  Chilima’s way of de-linking himself from the DPP to create his own image or political profile, she noted.

She said it was rare in politics for things to just happen by mistake, saying the frequency of the Vice President’s public appearances, with heightened media publicity, may be a political strategy towards running for President in 2019.

“It is, therefore, important for the DPP as a party to do some soul-searching to understand what the Vice President may be up to,” she said.

Mutharika’s surprise choice of Chilima as running mate in 2014 paid positive political dividends as his youthfulness and denomination (a devout Catholic) worked to the advantage of Professor Mutharika’s presidential bid.

But the duo’s relationship has cooled off considerably—with the President and his vice going months without meeting.

But President Mutharika last year declared that  Chilima was his ‘son’ and that any suggestions that their relations were strained were incorrect.

There are now unconfirmed reports that President Mutharika may sideline Chilima as running mate.

Possible names being floated around include  Bright Msaka, the current Minister of Education and  Atupele Muluzi, the Minister of Health and President of the United Democratic Front (UDF), which is an opposition party in an informal coalition with DPP.

Since the dawn of multiparty politics in 1993, it is only UDF’s  Bakili Muluzi who retained his Vice President Dr. Justin Malewezi on the ticket during his 10-year tenure although the two fell out in the twilight of their last term when  Muluzi wanted to prolong his stay through failed open terms and third term bids respectively.

His successor, the late Bingu wa Mutharika, had the worst relationship during his first term with his Vice, Dr. Cassim Chilumpha.

Bingu even tried to fire  Chilumpha for “undermining government integrity”, but the court stopped from doing so, saying he had no power to remove his Vice.

Chilumpha ended up being arrested for treason—a case that remains unresolved today.

In his re-election bid in 2009,  Bingu chose  Joyce Banda as running mate. She went on to become the first woman Vice President in Malawi, but it was not long before she, too, fell out of grace with the President.

When  Bingu died in 2012,  Banda took over power. She appointed  Khumbo Kachali as Vice President only to dump him for  Sosten Gwengwe as her running mate in 2014, when she lost to Mutharika.

Salima-based social and political commentator,  Dalitso Gome, said in an interview that going by this trend,  Chilima may be preparing for the worst case scenario.

He said that as much as he is hoping that President Mutharika would retain him as running mate, he is also likely preparing his political future if he is dumped in preference for someone else.

“Dr. Chilima will not sit back and move on with his private life if he is dumped. Politics is addictive and his enhanced visibility could be a way of bolstering his personal as well as political profile, and also to remain politically relevant in view of the general election next year,” opined Gome.

DPP spokesperson  Francis Kasaila refused to be drawn to comment on the matter, saying it is not in the interest of the party to discuss in public its elections strategies for 2019.

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Luka
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Luka

Zeroes hate heroes – end of story.

The Patriot
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The Patriot

Dr Saulosi Chilima is the real deal, he cannot be compared to these other brainless , myopic amd tribalist politicians. Any articulate Malawian knows that Dr Chilima will not be APM’s running mate in 2019(sorry if you cant see that ….dont blame me but the gyrations in your brain!). The only problem to some DPP strategists is that they think Chilima will just standby while he is being overlooked for the running mate post in 2019….that is where the DPP politburo will get a big suprise! Just wait and see….Chilima is not a fool! If DPP survive the running mate… Read more »

Napoleon
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Napoleon

Stop being delusional you called Gomwe and Munthalli. Who knew that president will pick Dr Chilima as his running mate. Much has been spoken trying to portray a bad relationship between the president and his vice non has worked. The president knew what his vice was going to speak. Stop dreaming you agents of MCP. Dr Chilima is for DPP and he will continue to support the president. Zanu izo muchedwa nazo ndi miseche ngati sindinu anthu a amuna. Zochititsa manyazi ukamaona amuna ngati inu kukhalira bodza. Find better things.

concerned citizen
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concerned citizen

Why are some DPP gurus rattled by Dr Chilimas activities and speeches? If he is dumped as a running mate for 2019 elections, let him stand as an independent candidate if the laws of Malawi allow. Malawians will vote for him. What Malawi needs is principled people like Dr Chilima who are true to duty and call a spade a spade . Tatopa ndikunamizidwa ndimachona amene akutinyambititsa phala pamene iwo akudya nsima

Kanu
Guest
Kanu

Are you surprised, look at the names of these dudes.

Mbanji
Guest

Let him stand

MMalawi
Guest
MMalawi

Chilima is part of the problem in Malawi. He only shows up for personal reasons, when his position is been threatened not to fight for the common goals of developing Malawi. He is a coward and has failed to show leadership and enjoys drinking tea with these old corrupt men instead of fighting the entreached corruption in government

Sugzo
Guest
Sugzo

There was nothing wrong with the dyke in Nsanje. APM is not daft but a cool customer he knows everything Chilima is doing. While building in wrong areas is not good and poses dangers to occupants Chilima has no power to order demolition. He must learn about the principle of COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY as a cabinet member. There is no obligation on DPP to pick Chilima as running mate to the party’s torch bearer that’s not how politics works otherwise Magufuli in Tanzania could not have been president as the VP was Lowasa. Let the party decide freely without coercion. Ethics… Read more »

Yankho
Guest
Yankho

The optics of his utterances aside, what he said is true. We have illegal settlements all over the country and it is really high time authorities learned to enforce laws and regulations. The environmental management act, forestry act, water act all these prohibit development close to waterways and other protected areas. This is what induces flash floods in most cases as the areas that are supposed to slow down water movement are without the necessary vegetative cover. And then what? govt has to rush in with disaster relief. Wake up Malawi these are retrogressive tendecies for sure. Bravo VP

Mamp
Guest
Mamp

We need young and bright brains on the drivers seat. I believe Chilima would make a good president.

Mbanji
Guest

I agree

Listen and Love
Guest

What is the intention and purpose of this article? What benefit does it add to the lives of Malawi people? Can someone school me here. Otherwise, it feels like some sort of gosipps just to pass time away.

Biti John
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Biti John

Za mkutu utakhuta thumbwana za Galu kumalemba zoduka mutu….
Mbimbi yeni yeni

#DzukaniAmalawi
Guest
#DzukaniAmalawi

This is poor journalism at best and laziness at worst. Most journalists in Malawi just lack depth in their analysis of events. In this era of fake news it will advisable to back your opinion pieces with some facts without which the story goes into dustbin as fake news. What are you expecting readers to do upon reading the article. We are a few months to General Elections and all you can tell us is how DPP members are rattled with their own VP. Rex Munthali, advise ordinary Malawians on how they can change their course in life come May… Read more »

Tenzi Mzungu
Guest
Tenzi Mzungu

At it again. Trying to bring confusion in DPP family. Who are you working for? How much have you received for this article? Anyway let me remind you that our votes are not at Polytechnic neither in your office. If you have nothing to do better bonk you housemaid

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