Peter Mutharika
President Peter Mutharika

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. — (attributed to) Abraham Lincoln, (1809 – 1865) 16th president of US

There are some anomalies in the ongoing Malawi tripartite elections, that need pause and analytical considerations. One is on the missing running mates for the VP and his alleged nemeses and current president Arthur Peter Mutharika. The DPP held its convention and came out with APM as the Presidential candidate for the ongoing 2019 general elections. However, to date, he has not announced his running mate. Likewise, SKC is galivanting all over the country in flamboyant 1992-93 UDF pressure group fashion, he too does not have a running mate.

Another question to consider, why is Chilima’s organization is still just a movement and not a registered political party? We appreciate that Chilima is expressing his conscience without fear or favor at his country-wide rallies; that he has not been harassed, being in a democracy notwithstanding. All this is what democracy looks like.

Saulos Chilima
Saulos Chilima vying to unseat his Boss President Peter Mutharika with no structures in place

But something is just not really jelling well in the present climate. Even with Chilima’s chants that he is going to end corruption, and DPP returning the K145m it had embezzled, Police not harassing governing party opponents…. Somehow, the picture is too perfect to be true.

At the height of the calls for Vice President Saulos Chilima to come out in the open and speak to his followers that want him to contest in the on-going elections (a mere three months ago), this column pondered on the theory that this (Chilima jumping the DPP ship and contesting in the 2019 elections), could be a set-up. What if the two (president and his vice) are playing us (unsuspecting Malawians), and they are just amassing the voters from all the bases, and at some point, unite before the elections? This is a big “what if….”

SKC’s United Transformation Movement is leaving no stone unturned: he’s got the youth (a really, always underestimated bloc), women (always there for a new song and dance, and maybe a post or two for some), the north, south and center, and of course the Catholic church (of which SKC is a staunch member). These are the represented numbers all clad in SKC red cloth.

Malawians love their colours: pictures coming out of UTM rallies are showing the coterie of faces and a sea of red is everywhere. The movement is minesweeping the entire country in the frenzy the UDF had of Malawians in the run-up to the Referendum vote in 1993.

Is Chilima about to sweep to victory and push aside his former Boss, DPP president APM from Kamuzu Palace? Before I could digest and synthesis this consideration, I got this morning a brilliant 7-point considerations about this Saulos Klaus Chilima moment we are witnessing in Malawi. I reproduce it in full (because the author gave an open permission for anyone to do so).

OPEN QUOTE: Excellent observation: I have been told by an Indian business friend in Lilongwe that SKC’s stunt could be a DPP ploy. The businessman alleges that the SKC has been given K5 billion to do this by APM. It’s to mop up votes, particularly in centre and north and later say we (UTM) are partnering with DPP.

Atupele will do the same; he is happy being a cabinet minister, but SKC will be APM’s runningmate.

APM is being very soft on SKC and vice versa.

He (APM) is airing on MBC mawa, but his key message is anti-MCP. He says “MCP will never rule this country as long as I’m alive.”

1. Why is he so vexed with MCP and treats SKC with kids gloves.

2. How can the government allow SKC to use state resources such as security, motor vehicles, authority. Also, SKC does bother with rally venue booking processes by virtue of being VP. He’s doing all this to bring down the same government?

3. Not all officials in DPP are aware of the plan between APM and SKC. Therefore, there is confusion on how to deal with SKC. A knee-jerk reaction from some – Goodall, Dausi, Msaka, the Police IG, here and there. Then they realise: “it seems we shouldn’t be touching this boy”.

4. Not all in SKC grouping ate aware of the plan. As they haul insults on APM, they later realise: “seems we should leave this madala alone”.

5. To both DPP and SKC, and UDF their agreed common enemy is the Malawi Congress Party (MCP). Power will be kept in the South at all cost.

6. The biggest losers in all this, are the Malawians that are ignorant of the scheme and have joined SKC with pomp and fanaticism, hoping he will liberate this country. Nada! These will be the biggest losers. When SKC finally tells these fanatics that he is rejoining DPP, as running mate, he will not care how many will jump his UTM ship. A few will have invested too much social capital to not follow him.

7. SKC is modelling his scheme like that of Moses Kunkuyu’s Transformal Alliance. Didn’t he, after galvanising some support, take the grouping to MCP? And he got himself a Director of Campaign seat in the MCP NEC?

Long live genuine democracy.

Janet Zeenat Karim  Author of Women & Leadership: Women are the Change you Seek

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