Vice President Saulosi Klaus Chilima has failed to justify his move to bring the issues of presidential immunity and Tonse Alliance agreements at the time he has been implicated in corruption allegations.
In an interview soon after he had finished his statement, Times Group journalist Brian Banda asked Chilima why he has decided to pursue the issue of presidential immunity and the Alliance agreement now yet he has been silent on the two issues for the past two years.
Said Banda: “Why are you bringing the issue of immunity at this time when there is this Sattar issues?”
In his rather awkward and bizarre response, Chilima just said there no any reason for that.
“That is what we agree that the laws on immunity of the sitting president should be removed,” he added.
Again, Banda asked that the Vice President has also revealed what was agreed in the Tonse Alliance agreement to the effect that President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera would not stand for re-election in 2025.
“Why are you bringing these issues now not during the time in 2020 when people were interested to know. Are these issues coming out because you are now under ACB investigations,” Banda probed further.
To this one Chilima answered: “Everything happens at its own time. Even in heaven it was written that today 1 July 2022, what is happening will happen.” Kumwambak
Chilima addressed Malawians from his UTM Party’s headquarters in Area 10, Lilongwe a week after his name was mentioned as one of the high profile people that were in direct contact with UK based wanted corruption suspect Sattar.
Many have seen the address as an attempt to divert attention from his mention in the issue.
Analysts and Social commentators have also questioned Chilima’s timing on discussing the two issues at the time he has been implicated in corruption allegations.
One of the social commentators and human rights activist Undule Mwakasungula pointed out that the two issues were just a cover up to his corruption allegations.
“The topic on the President’s immunity is complicated and Chilima is bringing it now just because he is involved in the Sattar corruption investigations,” said Mwakasungula.
Mwakasungula further said he saw Chilima’s speech as a squandered chance to inform Malawians about his suspected role in Sattar corruption.
He also faulted Chilima for spending “too much time focusing on the 2025 political interests at the expense of critical issues such as the corruption, in which he is named, and the current economic situation.
Another renowned social commentator Willy Kambwandira of Centre for Transparency and Accountability described the statement as lacking and empty.
Kambwandira also labelled Chilima’s public statement as a missed opportunity to address serious issues that many Malawians were eagerly waiting for.
Kambwandira observed that the vice president has failed to clear his name in relation to the Sattar corruption case which many Malawians were eagerly anticipating.
“The vice president’s speech has failed to live to people’s expectations. We expected the vice president to explain to us his relationship with Sattar.How close is he to Sattar?
Has he at any point dealt with Sattar?
“But the vice president has failed to answer all these questions and worse still the president did not take questions from members of the press. To me I feel this is a missed opportunity on both vice president’s part and ofcourse Malawians at large,” said Kambwandira.
Kambwandira said he feels the Vice president was supposed to outline strategies his party and of course himself are going to undertake to support ACB’s fight against corruption.
Taking his turn, another commentator Peter Jegwa Kumwenda a seasoned journalist feels the Vice president has missed an opportunity to clear his name.
“If you read the statement which the office of the vice president issued some days ago immediately after the vice president’s name was mentioned in the Zunneth Sattar corruption report and what the vice president has said today you would notice that there are some contradictions.
“In the statement the office of the veep issued, it hinted that the vice president is clean and will clear himself but today if you listen to the vice president he has failed to exhaust the issue of corruption in relation to the Zunneth Sattar case,” said Jegwa Kumwenda.
A report from Malawi’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) confirmed the allegations from another report by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) that the vice president received huge sums of money from Sattar.
However, the ACB is yet to officially interrogate him
Chilima, in his address, told the nation that he is committed to see that the graft busting body is left to operate independently without interference and that he is willing to cooperate with the bureau in it’s investigations.
Chilima also said that in the agreement he signed with President Dr Lazarus Chakwera the two agreed that they will support each other as presidential candidates for a single term each.
“The agreement was that if one is the running mate this time, then the other will support him in the second term to lead the the alliance,” he said.
Chilima also threatened that if the Alliance is to end today, then it will mean that the country should go for fresh presidential elections before 2025.