He is overstepping his boundaries by calling the Press Statement the “national address
Special News Analysis by our Seasoned Staff Writer
In her own words in that leaked audio conversation Martha Chizuma, the Director General of the Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB), admitted that the fight against corruption is not going to be easy. Rightly so, the fight against corruption has never been easy and it will always be going to be complex but the battle will eventually be won, at least judging by President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera’s sustained commitment to root out the vice so far.
The challenge in the fight against corruption is that mostly those involved in the malpractice are influential figures who use their influence to escape justice.
Last week’s high profile dismissals and suspensions attest to the fact that while there is widespread corruption at every level, corruption is more entrenched at the upper echelon and more difficult to combat due to the powers the public figures wield.
Already, the aftermath of President Chakwera’s decision to withhold delegated responsibilities to Vice President Soulos Chilima seems to have triggered a war between the President and his deputy who now seems more determined to subvert justice by attacking the ACB, describing the graft bursting body as the instrument of political persecution.
Things are happening fast and there are indications that the Vice President will use his perceived popularity to frustrate the fight against corruption. As if the insinuation that the ACB is being used as the instrument of political victimization was not enough, the Vice President was quoted telling his supporters that he has been humble but naïve, his humility has worn thin. As per his tone, the Vice President sounds like the man spoiling for a battle ahead.
Looking at how things are unfolding it seems as though everything was planned in advance and this is the time to execute the plan into actions. Again, it appears that this team is prepared to fight anyone who dares to touch their leader.
Meanwhile the announcement by UTM that their party leader will address the nation on emerging issues at their headquarters in Area 10 on Friday is not surprising because it was expected that he will be making noise in order to save his face and fight back the President for withholding delegated responsibilities to his office.
The Press release reads: “The Vice President Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima will on Friday 1st July, 2022 address the nation on emerging issues of national importance in his capacity as state Vice President president of the Republic of Malawi and as President of UTM.”
The Vice President is at liberty to address his supporters and Malawians who are willing to listen to him without any legal implications but saying that he will address the nation on emerging issue has serious impression.
National address is normally associated with the sitting President. Understandably, the nation always has several expectations from it as the president has powers to effect changes or make orders according to the powers vested in him by the constitution.
For example, on his national address of 31 May 2022, President Chakwera removed Zangazanga Chikhosi as Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC) and replaced him with Colleen Zamba as the Secretary. He effected some austerity measures and ordered the ACB to submit a report on its investigations on Zuneth Sattar’s corruption case among other executive directives.
That address was followed by another one that led to the Vice President losing his delegated powers, the Inspector General of Police losing his job and made some high-profile suspension in connection to Sattar corruption case. The Vice President is not under obligation to sanction any of these orders even when all things were equal without the powers being withheld. The impression this Press release is sending is that the Vice President has equal powers with the sitting President which is not the case.
Jack Banda is one of the DPP influencers and President Chakwera’s critics but on this issue, he came out strongly condemning the Chilima for elevating himself equal to the President. Writing on his Facebook he said: “Someone needs to tell Chilima that an address to the nation on emerging issues of national interest is given by the President and not the VP. The VP can do that only when he is delegated by the President.”
As highlighted by Jack Banda the vice president is not mandated to address the nation as there is no situation falling under the two scenarios for the President to delegate him
The statement continued by saying: “Meanwhile, the Vice President is appealing for calm among UTM followers and Malawians of goodwill throughout this period.”
This is a careless strange statement not befitting the party of UTM’S stature because there is no unrest in this country to call for Malawians to remain calm.
Now, when the statement was released rumours started circulating suggesting that UTM is pulling out of the Tonse Alliance. Whatever, the case the bigger picture is that Chilima is bitter after being stripped off his delegated responsibilities and this so-called national address has been organized to spite the President and look down on his effort of fighting corruption.
As usual, his communication team is busy hyping the event but there is nothing good that will come out of the function than the usual self-glorification and trying hard to sustain political relevance after his image has been dented.