Time to ‘drain the swamp’: Analysts hail Chilima’s game changer call for ‘a just Malawi’

Politics and governance commentators have commended Vice-President Saulos Chilima for his “drain the swamp” call and that his resignation from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) clears his way to have a good platform to advance his vision for “a just Malawi” by contesting in  in the 2019 Tripartite Elections.

Chilima: Drain the swamp, Dziko lathe! Tsogolo lathu!

Chilima—who remains Vice-President until the end of his term next May— described the country as riddled with corruption, nepotism and cronyism.

“My fellow Malawians, we must give this country a new lease of life. This is the only place we can call home. There is no other place we can call home. For me, this is the only house I have lived in. We must demand better of ourselves. We must clean this house. We must clean our house. We must drain the swamp. This is our country. This is our future. Dziko Lathu. Tsogolo Lathu,” said Chilima.

Chilima likely drew his inspiration for the phrase from President Ronald Reagan. In 1980, Reagan called to “drain the swamp” of bureaucracy in Washington, and created the Grace Commission, which identified $424 billion of wasteful government spendingthat could be cut.

He said his vision was a Malawi that promoted love, peace, unity, compassion and knows no tribalism, nepotism and creed.

“A Malawi whose citizens will once again walk tall wherever they will go because of the discipline and respect for authority, law and order. A Malawi that will be corrupt-free, a haven for hard work and where its citizens will protect its assets,” he said.

A governance expert Mankhumbo Munthali told Nyasa Times that Chilima could be a game changer in 2019 elections.

“I strongly believe he will stand as a presidential candidate in 2019,” he said.

“However, it will be interesting to see how far and to what extent will this Chilima for Presidency crusade have a bearing on the political dynamics of 2019 elections where many had initially concluded that it shall be purely a two horse race between MCP Chakwera and DPP Mutharika. To what extent will Chilima’s 2019 presidential candidature affect Mutharika’s chances of retaining government? To what extent will Chilima’s candidature affect Chakwera’s chances of winning 2019 elections?

“Certainly, Chilima’s candidature in might change the political landscape as we approach 2019 elections considering his appeal to the youth vote, the Catholic Church (where he is a staunch Catholic) and of course the undecided voters who are frustrated with Mutharika’s leadership but at the same time not convinced that Chakwera is the suitable alternative to Mutharika. This may hence work to Chilima’s advantage to pull up a surprise injury time victory in 2019 elections,” said Munthali.

However, he observed that on the other hand Chilima’s candidature may work to the advantage of MCP Chakwera in a scenario where he manages to divide the DPP votes.

“This is certainly the main reason why there is more panic in Mutharika’s DPP camp as the worst thing they would want to see is to have  their worst political enemy Chakwera win the election,” he said.

Chancellor College political scientist Ernest Thindwa said time is against Chilima to launch his own political party ahead of the 2019.

“The best he can do is to join forces with another party, a winning party and as of now, the right party is the Malawi Congress Party,” he said.

Political commentator Humphrey Mvula said for the first time he saw a Malawian politician divorcing himself from a political hurling insults and making stinging attacks on the leadership of his former party.

“He was composed, smart, never talked bad against anybody in the DPP, that is rare and unique,” he said.

The Vice-President had only kind words for Mutharika, expressing his gratitude for “growing me out of the baby that I was”, perhaps in subtle reference to remarks Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development  Goodall Gondwe made at the advent of the calls for Chilima to succeed the current President.

Mvula said DPP has lost a political asset with much appeal to the youth and working class

Mustafa Hussein, another political scientist said Chilima has a huge political future after the DPP.

“What he needs to do is make political strategies so that he remains politically relevant on the political scene,” he said.

DPP deputy publicist Zeria Chakale said the party will go ahead with its election preperations with or without Chilima saying the party was larger than an individual.

At a news conference  in Lilongwe, where he made the announcement, Chilima saluted personal sacrifices that the country’s freedom and democracy fighters—such as the Catholic bishops in 1992 and the late Reverend John Chilembwein 1915—made, saying his own sacrifices pale in comparison.

“There comes a time in everyone’s life when one has to bid farewell to personal comfort for the benefit of his compatriots. It is a decision that our forefathers made as I have already said. It is a decision that I have made,” he said.

Governance and development specialist Henry Chingaipe backed Chilima for diagnosing the challenges the country faces with the hope that in his ultimate decision he will expound on how to deal with them.

Said Chilima: “Yes, people will ask. You were right in the system, why did you not change things? This will be yet another discussion point as I will shortly be sharing with you all my fellow Malawians my plans for my future.”

He said with concerns that Malawi remains one of the poorest in the world.

“Our communities are being ravaged by curable diseases; corruption is worsening and with it comes the widening of the gap between the rich and the poor; our public education system is crumbling forcing those with a little bit of money send their children to private schools; the connected and the powerful continue to plunder our nation’s wealth as our hospitals lack basic medicines and medical equipment due to lack of funding; agriculture remains subsistent and the threat of hunger is always looming due to over-reliance of rain- fed agriculture; unbridled overpopulation and environmental degradation are threatening our communities; nepotism, cronyism and regionalism are rampant as opportunities are a reserve for those with tribal connections,” he said.

Chilima said time has come when each and every able Malawian to take ownership of the future of our country.

”We must fight for a just Malawi. A Malawi that will indeed showcase milk and honey. A Malawi that will promote Love, Peace, Unity, Compassion, Discipline and Self-esteem. A Malawi that knows no Tribalism, Nepotism, Racism and Creed. A Malawi whose citizens will once again walk tall wherever they will go, because of the discipline and respect for authority, law and order. A Malawi that will be corrupt-free, a haven for hard work and where its citizens will protect its assets,” he said.

Next step? Chilima is joining  Malawians across the political divide calling for a united transformational leadership to change the destiny of the country and of a bigger announcement will be made in sooner.

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Kalekeni Kanene
Kalekeni Kanene
6 years ago

This is the chance Malawians should use if we are to turn things around. He is mature, educated, a leader in nature, young and energetic, in line with the modern times. Malawi needs a healer. Chilima is the one. He has good `plans for his nation. Musamutaye munthuyu a Malawi. Go Chilima go! Our country is suffering due to visionless leaders. I have your vote!!!!

6 years ago

A speech of lofty proportions I dare say: grounded in substance and not petty political populism. He sounded presidential too – cool, calm, measured and collected. More so than APM. He certainly represents a credible alternative on the ballot.

6 years ago

he is a good man but I don’t trust his sponsors,his financial backers are disgruntled dpp members who does it bcoz they are bitter with Dpp.So many factors comes into play when it comes to wining an election.The Veep needs to tread carefully coz most pple who says he is good just do so bcoz it is fashionable to say so not that they like him or can vote for him.His strategy of telling what pple loves to hear needs to fine tune it bcoz he is getting caught telling lies,We already have peace n unity in Malawi hon Veep… Read more »

Mayo mayo Nchilima
6 years ago

Nchilima you have been fooled. Please can you listen to the song tittlerd “AMAONA KUCHEDWA”by Lawi.
Kalindo is my friend he has told me that he has changed his mind. He is now supporting Manganya.
Mgonni Alomwe akupinda. Never make alliance with Lomwe. You have hanged yourself

6 years ago

This is like praising a Gulewankulu dancer while it is in the kraal. Dont be cheated this man called chilima is just as rotten because in the four years he has been in government, he should have been in conflict with the system but he made us believe that all was well. . There were times he was given the chance to speak before the president and he never spoke anything about corruption or nepotism. I will not shed any tear for him neither will I be cheated that he is any better. Already he has lied to us that… Read more »

Gule kwao
6 years ago

You have drained yourself from dpp. You have taken your instruments . Which band are you going to join. You are now Michael yekha. Wagwanayo mwana wangoni.
Go back to Airtel . Ask Khumbo Kachale and Malewezi or Chilumpha they are finished like dead monkeys you too soon you will follow them

6 years ago

Man of the moment

Timvê ziti
Timvê ziti
6 years ago

This is a call to all Malawians. Let’s save our country. Let’s turn it around. Let’s regain our pride. Let’s walk tall.
Our country is a huge embarrassment right now. We are well known for all the wrong things. Where is our dignity . Where is our pride. The biggest danger is our children growing up thinking nepotism cronyism racism corruption and begging are a normal way of life. Very sad.

6 years ago

What could Chilima have done? Let’s be honest, he does not have political capital and that is why he had to be calm and appreciative. It’s called realising what one is wealth.

6 years ago

Chilima alone can not turn things around. Malawi needs a collective effort by all malawians. The issue of corruption for instance can can not be dealt with by one individual. What if chilima becomes a president one day & corruption continues will you not also call him a bad leader aswell? Its time we stoped blaming our leader for every problem we face. We all need to do something, people who practice corruption live among us & we know them. Some of us are even involved in this malpractice yet we are busy blaming the leader only. Let’s all of… Read more »

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