In phone-in programme on Times Radio presented by Brian Banda, a certain Mr Chipwete who gave his address as “at the barbershop, Thunga, Thyolo” had interesting things to say. Don’t shoot the messenger. Various parties can see what they take away from this and retool their messages accordingly.
MR CHIPWETE: Let’s just give the keys of power to [MCP president Lazarous] Chakwera. If he lets us down, we will take it from there. But all these others are birds of the same feather – they are thieves.
BRIAN BANDA: What makes you say so?
MR CHIPWETE: What I’m saying is: you’ve been in there for four years – they went in together, right? – so they have been together all these four years. He ate first year and said nothing; ate second year and said nothing; ate third year and said nothing; and for him to realise just now that what he has been eating is rotten I can’t buy that! To me, they are all thieves. And this man has come with threats. “Know you’re thieves,” he says. “I know you plan to steal elections. You can’t beat us at the game.” It’s like telling us he is an expert at rigging. Don’t forget that the Reverend [Chakwera] has been complaining all along that the election was stolen from him, and this guy says he knows a lot about rigging. The question is: if you mean well, why don’t you explain to us how the election was stolen? So, he just wants to deceive us that he is clean. However, as you can see, even that image is already battered because he has surrounded himself with the same thieves. Some have a really bad image, others are still answering cases in court . . .
BRIAN BANDA: I implore you, please, let us not mention names.
MR CHIPWETE: My apologies, Brian, but all I wanted was to say the truth. The team he is at the helm of, some of the members are answering cases at the Anti-Corruption Bureau. They stole money and they are answering charges and these are the people he has taken on board and says, “Let’s go and transform the country.” Does he take us for granted? Does he think we can leave a reverend who has been fighting for us for four years? From the day he set foot in parliament, Dr Chakwera has been talking tough against corruption, pointing out that these are thieves. He even went so far as tabling a bill for the independence of the ACB, and these very same people shot it down. So what transformation will they bring, Brian? Nothing will change at all. Let them just be honest and say, “Look, the gravy train has left us behind. It’s only the chosen few who are now eating. We have jumped ship because of that.” That is the truth. But for them to start telling us, “We are clean,” I can’t buy that. Where were they all these four years? So let them not deceive us. If they want to dress smartly, let them. If they want to march on our roads, let them. But deceiving us? Noooo. The Malawian of today is a different kind of Malawian, knowledgeable and not easily deceived.
BRIAN BANDA: If you talk of dressing smartly, why doesn’t MCP just do the same?
MR CHIPWETE: Dressing smartly is not a bad thing, Brian. All I’m saying is the decency should emanate from the depth of your heart. But if you just look great on the outside but your heart is not clean, what good is that? He led reform. Did we see those reforms touch the Anti-Corruption Bureau? He was the one leading reforms, lest we forget. Not a single day did we hear him say, “I want, as part of these reforms, that the ACB should be independent.” What was reform all about? Wasn’t he supposed to push for such things? Now for him to come and say, Oh no, but if you elect me next year I’ll bring change, why not bring change now? Isn’t he still right there in the government? Isn’t he still Vice President of Malawi? Why not bring that change now? Everything that has been going on all along, wasn’t he a member of the cabinet? Why hoodwink us now? I want Malawians whether here in Thyolo, Lilongwe, Chitipa to know that these people have not changed, they are same old same old. Wasn’t he, only recently, interested in running for president of the ruling party? Hasn’t he formed his own because he realized it was an impossible task to topple his boss? Now, suppose he had been given the presidency of the ruling party, could he have been telling us all this about the ruling party’s theft? So, today, just because he has launched his own outfit, he should appear to be an angel? No, no, no. These are birds of the same feather.
- Like I said, don’t shoot the messenger. If I were UTM, this feedback would be helpful to reshape the message and address concerns of people like Mr Chipwete. If I was MCP, I would seek Mr Chipwete out and see how to make him a more formidable force in campaigning for the party around his area. If I was DPP, I would realise that even in the party’s heartland, the opposition is building in-roads, and I would want to come up with strategies to win back the support of the likes of Mr Chipwete. Anyway, I am none of these. I belong to Khumbo Kachale’s party. We will transform Malawi.