By Cedrick Ngalande
These are interesting times in Malawi. State Vice President Chilima’s name is among those government officials who the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) says have been dealing corruptly with a British businessperson.
Last week, the State President relieved his vice of any delegated duty until that cloud of corruption has been lifted. In the Malawi constitution, the President cannot fire his vice who is elected directly by the people.
When a shocked nation asked the Vice President to comment on these allegations, he uttered a few words and promised to speak more “next week”, this week.
Today, the highly anticipated speech has been delivered. It was long and winded. The speech decried the presidential immunity; it talked about the long history of Malawi; it talked about the current Tonse alliance and how dishonest the other partners are.
The speech, however, did not answer basic questions most Malawians were waiting for: Do you know this allegedly “corrupt” businessperson? Have you dealt with him before? Why is your name on the ACB list?
To be fair to the Vice President, the ACB and the President should not have just mentioned his name (or names of others) without details. Both the President and the ACB have very loud microphones which should not be used carelessly.
Two years ago, when the UTM (the Vice President’s party) signed an alliance partnership with the MCP (the president’s party), the contents of the agreement were kept secret. Respective Secretaries General of both parties went as far as to say that only two people – the president and his vice – knew what was contained in the agreement.
Well, today the Vice President told the nation that, core to their agreement, the President was supposed to serve for only one term before giving his vice an opportunity to serve as president.
In fact, the UTM wasted no time in leaking the “secret” agreement on social media. This is the same highly secretive sacred document they have kept concealed for more than 2 years. We finally saw what is contained in the document.
And there it was, Paragraph 3.1.3 says that the alliance presidential candidate of the 2020 election shall not stand again in the immediate next election and instead his partner will.
Unfortunately for the UTM, these words in Paragraph 3.1.3 are preceded by the phrase “Subject to the decision of the national executive committees or conventions …”