Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones; so let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus hath told you Caesar was ambitious: if it were so, it was a grievous fault, and grievously hath Caesar answer’d it. – Marc Antony’s eulogy for Julius Caesar
On June 6, 2018 Malawi Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima, put to rest election speculations about will he or won’t he run against President Mutharika in the 2019 tripartite elections.
“I believe that in the past 4 years of duty as (APM’s) Vice President we have had a very cordial relationship and still believe that this cordial relationship will continue as I serve as his State Vice President till the next administration is elected into office in 2019,” Chilima said in his cool, calm and collected manner.
He encouraged Malawians to speak out and up; that they must not stay silent, saying that “in truth, such silence and inaction amounts to complicity in the plunder of our nation’s wealth.”
At one point he quoted scripture extolling Malawians “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
He then ran into the future as he promised Malawians “to share with you all my fellow Malawians my plans for my future. For now, as the DPP has announced that it is holding its convention this June, I have decided not to contest on the DPP ticket for any position at the forthcoming party’s convention, let alone challenge the party’s presidency.”
But before diving into what just happened here and the sand-in-mouth-feeling his supporters may be experiencing, or as the deflated Chilima balloons wobble stage left, a comment must be made on the omissions by the good Dr. Chilima (obviously a non-historian).
As Chilima started rambling on about the “trailblazing preacher from Magomero…” the Chilima then presented a historic narrative that gave mention of the 1959 Nkhata-Bay massacre and then cruised right into the 1980’s and the Catholic Bishop heroic acts in the democracy road. His speech scrapped Malawi’s 30-year history.
Except for APM, Chilima did not mention anyone by name, so he can be excused for not mentioning Kamuzu Banda. However, skipping the Gwero and Khami prison year-long incarceration of hundreds of Malawians – many of whom lost their jobs, others their lives, and still others lost their marriages – is re-writing the country’s history on the one hand, and additionally misleading the youth.
The Malawi youth are a major constituency that the Vice President’s supporters and are a captive audience. As a leader, when speaking, it is healthy for the country that our history is narrated and call out all truths.
That was my main obstacle. It was an eagerly anticipated and welcomed notice to get that the VP would speak – about time some said; others said Amen or atimasule.
The press conference over, the dust settled, many Malawians breathing again after a thirty minute break, has left Malawians wandering: Now what? And while others are left wanting, many are discombobulated by the VP’s statement and social media is awash with people’s two-bit worth of analysis.
But gladly, the dust has settled, without saying so, it is obvious APM’s next VP is not AKC; and he is not running either for the presidency or any other position.
He came, he spoke, and he’s not running. Full stop. He has expressed his democratic right.
So, tell me what democracy look like? This is what democracy looks like. With Chilima’s cards on the table – despite being presented with the crown of leadership by the Chilima Movement – made up of DPP members, youth, and elderly people, Chilima has thrice refused the crown. He has spoken as the people were thirsting for him to do so.
At this stage, it may be the ideal time for the APM to lure the Chilima faction and supporters as a means of preventing the bleeding of the team.
Long live genuine democracy!