Politics of retribution (wunimanyenge and kuthana) will not take Malawi anywhere.
In a circular to all Principal Secretaries and Heads of Departments this week, Chief Secretary to the Government Llyod Muhara reminds the officers that the Vice-President is entitled to privileges and benefits in accordance with the President (Salaries and Benefits) Act Cap 2:02. In compliance with the legal requirement, Muhara reminds all the addressees that the Vice-President, who now happens to be Saulos Klaus Chilima, should only be accorded such privileges and benefits as prescribed by law whenever he is performing government business. He—Muhara—therefore reminds the addressees to adhere to this requirement.
Cap 2:02 stipulates that the Vice-President should, among others, be accorded the following benefits: Free house in Lilongwe, Free guest houses in Blantyre and Mzuzu, three motor cars; Motorcade escort by the Police, one personal bodyguard, one staff supervisor, one head of Security Guard, six security Guards, one store keeper, two cooks, two chauffeurs, One head gardener, four gardeners. There are other benefits.
Despite the above provision, before the fallout with President Peter Mutharika, there were 52 security guards working in Vice-President’s Office. But barely days after Chilima declared his political mission to challenge APM and DPP, his security detail was reduced to a mere seven guards to man his two official residences in Blantyre and Lilongwe, his office at Capital Hill and his motorcade day and night. How is that possible?
This, in essence, means some of his official residences, office and motorcade will not be guarded at all. I can assure SKC that if these benefits were not specifically mentioned in the Constitution, they would have been taken away from you.
Well, welcome to the politics of retribution. I am sure you are not even surprised with this. You must have anticipated all this to happen after APM first stripped you of the only ministerial position you were holding for Disaster Management. This is after the Public Sector Reform programme which you ably and professionally handled was unceremoniously taken away from you last year.
You are not the first one to go through such. Other Vice-Presidents before you have seen it all. Former president Bakili Muluzi did the same thing to Justin Malewezi and Cassim Chilumpha; the late Bingu wa Mutharika also treated JB the same way. You should therefore get used to such things. That is politics the Malawian way. The idea is to show you (unimanyenge) that you are not in charge until you occupy Plot Number One.
Now what has happened—DPP government’s review of your security detail—also means that you cannot fully rely on it to manage your security. You are on your own. Nay! You are with the United Transformation Movement (UTM). Even the few that have been left to man your security detail, you will soon discover you might not fully rely on them to give your office the security you need as they will be shuffled and moved around at the discretion of your boss.
What you and UTM badly need is to go out there and get your own security to mingle and fuse with those that government will put at your service. You need your own army of cadets and your own intelligence—people whose loyalty and allegiance is undivided and is to you and you alone.
That is how over the years, almost each ruling political party in post-independence Malawi, has bred its own cadre of young democrats and cadets, regardless that many of them have been famed for taking the law into their own hands. So, welcome to the world of wunimanyenge and kuthana politics. For now it is the unenviable situation you are in and must learn fast to manage it and do so well until May 31 2019.