My Take On It August 3, 2018
Open letter to Vice President Saulos Chilima, UTM President
Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips Joshua 1:7-8 a
To the Right Honourable Saulos Chilima, Vice President of the Republic of Malawi,
At the outset, profound and sincere congratulations for splashing onto Malawi’s information avenues in the last few weeks by coming out from behind the scenes and launching the United Transformation Movement (UTM!
In coming out, speaking from the heart, and holding numerous humongous rallies starting with Lilongwe, moving to Blantyre and then Mzuzu, you have heeded and in one sweep, glazed yourself with your supporters’ praises. This is indeed the melting point in Malawi politics, and as many of your followers expressed concern that you were taking long, I wish to join the voices coming out as we race on the road to 2019 Presidential elections. Outlined below are seven points (the first of many to come), words of wisdom from These Freedoms platform; three are on former presidents’ speeches for you to earnestly study.
1. No need to resign
There is no need for you to resign; in fact, the constitution is silent on this concept. There is no one that was endowed with the authority to remove you or force your removal. Muluzi failed to remove VP Malewezi; Bungu failed to remove VP Chilumpha; and Bingu failed to remove VP Banda. These presidents failed to remove their VP’s because the Constitution does not deal with it; the VP as the President may be removed from their respective offices only in the case of their becoming incapacitated.
There is no one in Malawi that is endowed with the power to remove the Vice President from the office of the Vice President. It is also unconstitutional to remove the Vice president’s security detail. Your office and security detail are guaranteed by the ordinances of the Office of the VP.
We have the courts to review this provision or lack of it. It is a right that even former VPs and former Presidents will enjoy as long as they live. It’s in the Constitution.
2. On UTM cloth
Honestly speaking Your Honor, the red cloth is bright and very colourful. The design is also super and when worn by men and women, the red sea is brilliant and dazzling. But please, you don’t have to wear it also. Leave the wearing of your face, to your supporters. Can you imagine Kamuzu wearing a Kamuzu cloth? No? Of course not, he would never and never had a suit made from his cloth.
Speaking of the cloth, this was mainly worn by women; today, even men wear the cloth to show their support. Thus, speaking of the cloth, please REMEMBER women with your own lenses, in you planning.
The third point that Your Honour needs to consider is to avoid micromanagement in the running of the country. While taking note that Malawi is faced with a myriad of challenges, however, to speak about them from the Presidential podium, gives the voters the impression that it is the office of the President, to which you aspire, that will correct challenges like persistent blackouts, corruption, nepotism.
There are Constitutional frameworks that were established to implement programs in the such domains as electricity generation and distribution, anti-corruption, provision of water, housing, roadworks etc. We trust that Your Honor will ensure the operatives will follow through on their mandates without your interference. This is what we want to hear from you in your campaign rallies. People are looking for changes in the drama of running a government. It is time that Malawi moved away from the dictators in this democracy.
4. Bingu’s inauguration speech
Please listen to former President Bingu wa Mutharika’s inaugural address in 2004. Bingu’s win disappointed many Malawians and on this day, disgruntled citizens that feared Mutharika would be a puppet of the UDF President Muluzi, were stunned to hear Bingu speak so eloquently at Kamuzu Stadium. And to many, the speech sounded so much like a Kamuzu – he covered all the sectors. Please get that speech and hear how Bingu, who’s great line during his campaign was “Malawi woyee,” won the hearts of many disgruntled Malawians.
5. Kamuzu speeches
Malawi’s first President, late Dr. H. Kamuzu Banda, has been labeled numerous and horrific names; among them dictator, villain and even murderer. However, in his 31-year rule, Banda brought tremendous development, that has been unmatched by any of subsequent presidents; except in some way, Bingu.
Please take time to listen to at least 6 of Kamuzu’s public statements: youth week, crop inspection, Kamuzu Day, Mothers’ Day, parliament, or opening of development projects. One theme you will hear is the delivery of his promises surrounding his vision (popularly called Gweru dreams): all of which came true, they were implemented.
“When I was in Gweru, I had three dreams: university in Zomba, capital to move from Zomba to Lilongwe, and building the Lake Shore Road linking the Southern, Central and Southern Regions….”
From such a clear and concise development roadmap that the people looked forward to and all Malawians and visitors to Malawi can clearly see, Malawians are still benefiting from the Gweru Dreams. From these visions, Kamuzu set out to create structures such as an entity for produce (ADMARC), housing (MHC), provision of electricity (ESCOM), clean water (LWB, BWB, MWB), government road works (PVHO), development planning and implementation (MDC), among others. These were on the government side, but Kamuzu also had visions on the private sector side: Press Corporation, Import and Export, DWS, SUCOMA, VIPLY and a host of others like the Kamuzu Academy, providing international education to Malawi high school students.
6. Watch Muluzi speeches
Lastly, please watch former President Muluzi and his speech and bantering style during the time the UDF was a pressure group (1992-1993). Muluzi’s easy flair and ability to rouse the public, who in turn usually roused him, create a spontaneously flamboyant and gleeful crowd.
Muluzi: “Uuuuuuu!” Crowd: “Uuuuuuu!” Muluzi: “UDF.” Crowd: “UDF.”
Muluzi: “UDF, BOMA, UDF! UDF, BOMA, UDF! UDF, BOMA, UDF!”
Crowd: “UDF, BOMA, UDF! UDF, BOMA, UDF! UDF, BOMA, UDF!”
Malawians are a highly creative people, and you don’t have to copy style per style of these former presidents, but message crafting and crowd management was key to their successes.
7. Listen to Diaspora drums
What started out as the brain drain in the mid-1970’s and continues, has created a massive corps of Malawians in the diaspora; Malawians gifted with various skills and financial muscle. This entity has produced three presidents (HK Banda and the two Mutharika brothers), but that is all Malawi has benefited from this reality: Malawi brains outside Malawi.
There are Malawian scientists, economists, educators, doctors, nurses, health officials, evangelists, development specialists etc., all over the world.
In the 1970’s the government of Taiwan, created a science park that invites its citizens in the diaspora to come during their holidays to work in the park; they are given the opportunity to contribute to the development of the country. This is a great factor in the rapid progress the tiny island has made, against the political odds it faces.
Malawi needs to make an open olive branch outreach that is deep and sincere to its growing diaspora. Let’s face it, Your Honor, when Kamuzu Banda said he had dreams, on one of them, he explained he “could not sleep thinking about my boys and girls traveling outside the country to get higher education.” That is why he established the University of Malawi.
Sadly, the University is churning out graduates that are forced by circumstances, to seek livelihoods outside their country. Its your opportunity, to use the diaspora muscles, or continue to let the country bleed and lose.
Anyone who flips this, is in the win, win and win Chair.