Mutharika and Chilima
President Peter Mutharika and Vice Saulos Chilima

Those that argue that Vice President Saulosi Chilima is a coward may probably have a point.

Here is a guy who, for all practical purposes, has been used like a condom by the DPP and now lies truly dumped by the wayside spent and unwanted, but seems to be incapable or unwilling to probably do anything about it.

It is difficult to believe that Saulosi does not know what is cooking in the DPP.   All indicators point to the fact that the DPP always considered his marriage with Peter Mutharika to be simply one of convenience and not based on Peter’s or the DPP’s true love for the youth.

It was never one for the long term. A separation seemed to have happened somewhere along the way soon after the election, and now, three years on, the marriage is clearly headed for a bitter divorce.

Now you have to first of all understand what this may mean to Saulosi. The vice president was lured into politics from a very prestigious private sector position with the promise that he will part of something great- the reformation of the nation for the good of all Malawians.   This has not happened.

The fact is that so far, other than looking quietly on as the DPP’s corruption and looting brings the nation to its knees, it is hard to trace what his contribution has been to the DPP administration, and let alone to the nation. Even the public reforms project that he was touted to be championing has been taken away from him, and last week, he cut a curious figure as he tried to handover to President Mutharika a reform program which has nothing to show from three years.

The horrifying fact is that as far as his political life is concerned so far, Saulosi has failed.

But Saulosi’s dilemma cannot be simply the emptiness of his in tray. He should be wondering what his future now will be.   And is here where the critics are suggesting cowardice, and where it is hard to argue with them.

Consider this: There are no readily available private sector jobs in Malawi for a former Vice President of the republic. To be perfectly honest, it would be rather embarrassing for a person who was once a vice president of the country to find himself having to send his CV to Charles Kamoto at Airtel, or any other private company in the country for that matter, asking to be considered for a job.

The real option for him now, after giving up the private sector for a public service position, is to remain in politics. But how does a former vice president advance his political career? By contesting to be a member of parliament? From VP to MP?

I would have thought that the most natural and sound career progression for Saulosi would be from contesting as vice to contesting as president.

You see, this is where those critics have a point. Because if the DPP doesn’t want him to run- either as president or even as vice president- in 2019, then Saulosi finds himself in limbo. This is where he needed to show some courage and some balls, and especially some political knowhow to come up with a strategy that can convince the nation that his youthful wisdom and drive also has got some grit and determination added to it.

He needed to be courageous enough to tell the DPP that in leaving him out in the cold, the Party is breaking its promises to him. He needed to assert his position and convince the DPP that his political future is tied to the party’s political future, and that somehow, the party must find a way to accommodate him.

There is no evidence that Saulosi has done this. He seems to be waiting for some kind of political salvation to be delivered to him on a silver platter. Could this simply be cowardice and political naivety? Is Saulosi afraid of rocking the DPP boat for fear of some repercussions that could extinguish his gravy train?

There are still others who argue that in fact the trouble with Saulosi is not really cowardice but selfishness.

According to this school of thought, Saulosi is happy to be a vice president, riding in police protected convoys and staying in the vice president’s mansion. They claim that to Saulosi, this pomp and grandeure is enough. If there was ever a promise of greatness and if there ever was a feeling that by going into politics in the manner that he did, he carried the hopes of many Malawians, especially Malawian youths, as the beacon of change, this burden he no longer feels.

He is satisfied with what he has so far achieved and the benefits he has so far accrued personally that the aspiration to serve the greater good of all Malawians just isn’t there.

This is probably a very harsh accusation. But again, it is hard to argue with those that make such accusations when our beloved vice president, for all the promise and goodwill he had when he entered politics, has delivered nothing of note, and now his political future seems already to headed for the dustbin before it even started. On at least two previous occasions, I analysed Chilima’s plight.

I remember even suggesting that he may be the knight in shining armour that the MCP needs in order to be rescued from its political doldrums and stagnation.

The arguments I have presented here are the result of those ideas and thoughts. Many who reacted to my suggestions in feedback came back with these accusations.

The vice president is a coward. If he cannot show the balls and the willpower to free himself from the shackles of DPP stifling, how can he be trusted to make the hard decisions that this country needs to move forward? The Vice President is selfish. If he can be so satisfied and silenced by simply being vice president, how can we expect him to feel the pain of the a whole nation and share enough in its plight to have the desire to find solutions? When he was the prince of the private sector, I knew the vice president well enough.

Allan Ntata
Z Allan Ntata

Personally, I continue to give him the benefit of the doubt against these harsh accusations. But you must admit, they ring alarmingly true, and as time continues to pass without him showing his mettle, how will any Malawian ever be able to defend him? Wont most Malawians, especially those of youthful years consider him a traitor who, either on the alter of selfishness or cowardice, betrayed their hopes and dreams to the rotten political framework of joining government and politics only for self-enrichment?

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