Times change, says Chilima on BBC: HardTalk quizzes SKC why criticising Malawi govt of which he is second-in command

Vice-President Saulos Chilima on Friday appeared on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)  HARDtalk programme where he was interviewed by anchor, Zeinab Badawi in which among other things he  stated that he wants to  contest for the 2019 presidential election  to “save the country from destruction and corruption.”

Chilima with Badawi at BBC HardTalk

The vice president broke ranks with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in June  when he quit the party citing unchecked corruption and nepotism. He is leading the newly formed United Transformation Movement (UTM).

Times change

The BBC’s journalist pressed Chilima to explain  why he is running against incumbent Peter Mutharika,  the very man he  stood with in 2014 on joint presidential ticket as his running mate.

“Times change,” said Chilima  a former business executive turned politician.

“First of all it’s a constitutional right in Malawi for any person above 35  years who has got the right qualifications [to contest the presidency],” said Chilima.

Badawi in her no holds barred probing style, quizzed: “ I am not saying you’re not fit. Why  have you turned against Peter Mutharika?”

Responding, Chilima said: “I would like to exercise my constitutional rights and contest the office of the president.”

Chilima gave the BBC an interview in London where he is  on  a private visit.

SKC refuses to resign

Chilima was asked to comment on calls by some people that he should resign as  vice president  a call which was first sounded by  DPP administration  which rebuked him for, among other things, criticising a government he is part of and  for getting involved in a different political grouping.

The Vice-President, promoted as SKC, initials for his full name Saulos Klaus Chilima, said the office is protected by the Constitution.

“The vice president’s office is a delegated office constitutionally.  So as I sit here and when  I get back home I still go to the office and report  for duties. I am still in that office,” he said.

Chilima said  he responds to  enquiries from  different organisations.

“The office has not been vacated. I am available [for]  meetings and guidance,” SKC said.

“I have a contract which runs up to May 2019 [when the elections are due].”

He was asked if he meets President Mutharika after dumping the ruling party, but he said they have not met since June. Asked if Mutharika has asked him to resign, Chilima also said the President has not made the call.

Chilima also said he is not  using government money to run UTM activities.

“It is not tax payers’ money,” he stressed.

In 2005, former president and founder of DPP Bingu wa Mutharika also voluntarily dumped the United Democratic Front (UDF) which sponsored his presidential ticket in the 2004 General Elections and formed DPP. However, he did not resign as Head of State. His vice-president then, Cassim Chilumpha, remained UDF.

Immediate past president Joyce Banda also formed People’s Party (PP) in 2011 after being expelled from DPP, but continued to serve as vice-president.

Stop the rot

BBC asked  Chilima to comment on his anti-corruption stance.

“Speaking against corruption , speaking against nepotism is speaking against the evils. I will disagree any assertion that I am  speaking against government. It is not government policy to promote corruption,” said SKC.

“Over the four  years I have spoken against corruption at different  times. I am the champion of the construction sector initiative back home. I have rebuked poor workmanship. I have spoken against poor ethics when I presented a public lecture  on moral decadence at the University of Malawi. These, I was speaking when I was active in the government affairs,” he said.

Chilima said his efforts to advise government on corruption had fallen on deaf ears.

Grilled by Badawi that if corruption in Malawi is really as bad as Chilima describes, why the Vice-President didn’t use his influence to stop it.

“You see, first is, you engage and say there is a problem. Stopping it, means that,  when you make recommendations it is taken on board. I am not a final  decision maker, I can only make a recommendation,” he said.

He added: “Corruption story in Malawi is an interesting one. Nobody disagrees that there is corruption.  What the issue is,  are we really seriously fighting corruption. The fight is not at the level that we should be.”

Chilima challenged  responsible authorities to investigate  and prosecute corruption  unselectively.

“ There are cases of corruption that are not being pursued because people are being shielded,” he said.

During the interview Chilima further maintained  he would create one million jobs in his first year of office.

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nyama yalima
Guest

Mkuluyutu adzatipha ndiye as I map any an exercising his rights on money he is not working for? Instead of leaving that money to be used for other important things like the buying of drugs? Malawi yake iit Iadzalamule, ya diaspora? AAPAakungoonesera kuti mkuluyu ndi wamakani, akufuna adzilimbina ndi amnzake and yet APM is just very cool, the true leader osati zinazi zomangofuna thamo. kodi nanga minda inayo mukaiba kuti? Sizodzalanda azungutu apa, icho chidzakhala chibwana cha mchombo lends!!!

transformed cashgate
Guest

Hard talk opportunity doesn’t mean he is a performer. All I can see in this guy are lies and extravagant. How could he create 1 mita jobs from district mega farms and their most touted factories just in 6 months? Are these farms going to rely on rain or irrigation? If its from rain, which rain. The same rain which has been unreliable? If its from irrigation where exactly is he going to get the irrigation water for the other districts that are not along the perennial water sources? In not resigning from the work he is not doing is… Read more »

Mwananyanian
Guest
Mwananyanian

We all know it is not easy to be interviewed on a world stage, and we want to be fare. Trust me, I wanted to be fair to SKS. And to the extent that most Anglophone African aspiring political leaders dream of appearing on HardTalk, and really take the opportunity to demonstrate the grit they are made of, by all accounts, Chilima flopped BIG. He had his chance, and he has blown it. To elucidate regarding three pithy issues: Asked about why he’s abandoning the APM government, and why he’s seeking the job, he repeats that he’s exercising his rights.… Read more »

winston msowoya
Guest
winston msowoya

CONGRATS CHILIMA!!!!!!!!!!!!! On behalf of many Malawians in diaspora,I say KUDOS to our next President S.Chilima in his first encounter with foreign journalists.Indeed,you have given us every hope in your endeavours to become the next President of our dear Malawi.Apart from the Chipemberes and his fellow Ministers,Chilima is giving us un-diluted hope and courage comes 2019 and beyond.Malawians,the Presidents we have had since indipendence,are all brainless,corrupt,tribalists and incapable.When Chilima was with Peter Muthalika,was not that active in the affairs of the government in the sense that,Peter did not recognise him as his Vice-Presidend hence, he had nothing to do.We Malawians… Read more »

mkuluyu ngwadyera
Guest

Mr VIP to hell with your firthy lies. I won’t believe you from your antics. Why lying to us all that DPP hands are so dirty with corruption and yet you’re half of it? What about those murderers and cashgaters who are surrounding, the guys who failed to develop Malawi in the presence all mighty donors? APM was a man, a man defied all the odds to bring development without donors. Here was a man under whose leadership all civil servants were paid on time, not on 10th of the following month despite rough nature conditions. Here was a man… Read more »

double standards
Guest

This is a real thief. Why dinning with guys he labelled corrupt and thieves? If he is really smart he would have resigned from his post honourably. I wonder those who support him cherish him and yet the guy can’t part ways with the so called corrupt DPP? To be honest this guy is selfish and greedy and all what he has in his true colours is jealous. Keep on tricking your fellow crap Mr VIP for my vote forget it, iIbetter gave it back to APM because in clinging to them you’re telling me the DPP guys are true… Read more »

Shitholes Diarrhoea Progressive Party
Guest

Chilima flopped. He failed from the first question. How many things did he mention as first and foremost? Mfundo alibe nkuluyu.

njoka saweta
Guest

mukanakhala kuti mudaphuzirapo ndale mukanazindikira kuti wandale sayankha funso direct kuopa kuthambitsidwa ndi mafunso, aks dausi adzakuphuzitsani kayankhidwe kamafunso a ndare, munthuyu amayankha mwa ndare osati nati interview yokayambira ntchito, khalani pheee palibe mukuziwapo inuyo

Mposa
Guest
Mposa

Everyone has their own side of the interview. SKC supporters think he did well while those opposed to his political views think he flopped. From my perspective, Chilima was lucky that Zainab did not follow up on most of her questions. The man Chilima demonstrated that he has no political reasons to mobilise people against the government he is serving. He showed that he just wants to exercise his right to stand a presidential candidate because he is past the allowable age limit according to the Malawi constitution. Just looking at those around Chilima one can tell they have massive… Read more »

chataika
Guest
chataika

yes true SKC has no fault in APM govt but rather wish to exercise his constitutional right to contest. Point taken bwana SKC therefore stop castigating APM and his leadership only then will be able to woo support from the masses but short of that just know u are shooting urself on foot

Nick
Guest
Nick

I have listened t0 this interview which was very easy on Chilima.. No Hard Talk at all! Why no mention of APM corruption (how he first became president of Malawi and still enjoys criminal assets like Ndata Palace)? Chilima must be forced to do better than this if he is to be a convincing Reform candidate in 2019. Badawi must lift her game too as investigative journalist!

Nick
Guest
Nick

— and why no mention of Robert Chasowa’s murderers in the shiny new UTM party? Masangwi etc

Ntumbuka Mwenecho
Guest
Ntumbuka Mwenecho

He knows very well that Robert Chasowa’s death is a big can of big worms. Some of the people who coat his leadership at UTM and pull the strings for him to dance are implicated – Masangwi and Ngalande. If you were him and under similar circumstances would you dare say it?

Ntumbuka Mwenecho
Guest
Ntumbuka Mwenecho

Did APM inherit what you mention as Ndata Palace? I have never heard of this.

Nalingula
Guest
Nalingula

The his Chatham house presentation Chilima said one thing which I agree with “…(Malawians) have Limited Analytical Abilities”.When he joined DPP the Party was already known for Corruption, Nepotism, Violence and Murder. What Changed then and what has changed Now?Has his Integrity changed if he has any?

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