President Peter Mutharika has hit at his own Cabinet ministers which have been branded ‘childish, scandalous, crooks and power hungry’.
Soon after announcing little known Everton Herbert Chimulirenji as his runningmate on Friday, Mutharika released a ten point statement justifying his decision to pick Chimulirenji.
Ironically, Chimulirenji as Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development and Parliamentarian for Ntcheu North East, is part of his Cabinet he has described as ‘childish, scandalous crooks and power hungry’.
In the statement posted on social media, it said Mutharika had avoided picking someone who is immature and childish and also from his tribe or region.
Many DPP followers were expecting Mutharika to pick youthful Local Government Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa who is also Vice President for the DPP for the South but clearly did not fit as he would be seen as “immature, childish and coming from his tribe and region”.
Nankhumwa is a Lhomwe just like Mutharika and comes from Mulanje and the President comes from the neighbouring Thyolo district.
Others who were said to be likely running mates were DPP vice-president for the Eastern Region and Minister of Education, Science and Technology Bright Msaka, former Toyota Malawi managing director Rosemary Mkandawire, Justice Minister Samuel Tembenu and former Cabinet minister and Speaker of Parliament Henry Chimunthu Banda.
Mutharika also doubted the loyalty of his Cabinet members to the DPP party.
“APM has avoided someone who is not loyal to the party. APM has avoided someone who does not relate well with people within and outside the party, ” reads the statement in party.
Mutharika has even doubts on the capabilities of his cabinet members in running government business.
“APM has avoided someone who does not have experience in running government,” reads the statement in part.
However, when unveiling his runningmate, Mutharika singled out Chimulirenji, from the same club of childish and scandalous cabinet members as a hard worker with experience of running government business.
He also fired a warning shot to Chimulirenji aligning him to be his puppet.
“A Vice President is a delegated office it is not like a Deputy President. There will not be a co-president,”said Mutharika when introducing Chimulirenji as his runningmate to the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) at Comesa Hall in Blantyre Friday afternoon.
Political commentator Humphreys Mvula said that Mutharika’s assertion that a vice-president is always delegated was disappointing because it meant he wanted a subservient person who only waits to be told what to do, when and how.
“We need a strong vice-president who can initiate things and add value to the presidency and not just a praise singer but it appeared the President wants somebody who is meek and cannot critique him or take up the leadership mantle; that is worrisome,” he said in quotes reported by Weekend Nation newspaper.
As Mutharika defended his preferred choice at the podium, some members of his party including senior Cabinet ministers, were conspicuously in grumpy faces.
Mutharika said he had settled for Chimulirenji because of his integrity, educational qualifications, outstanding performance and a team player who would effectively help him run government for the next five years.
“He understands the difference between a vice-president and deputy president and that a vice-president is always delegated and the vice-president will never be a co-president,” said Mutharika.
The President also said the May 21 election will be a watershed in the history of the country as Malawians will either choose between taking the country forward or backwards, between building or destroying everything the DPP had begun.
He said: “But I have faith in the people of this country. When we found this country broken, bruised and economically wounded, we chose to fix and heal our economy.
“When we found this country in a crisis, we chose to regain our national pride and economic confidence to drive forward our country. Now we are set to take Malawi to new heights. We have set the stage for making Malawi a prosperous nation.”
Mutharika said he looked forward to five more years of improving the economy, businesses, quality of life, creating a skilled Malawi, opening new companies, creating more jobs for the youth, industrialising Malawi and empowering farmers, among others.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :