Malawi Vice-President turns opposition candidate in election race
LILONGWE, Malawi: Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima has launched a bitter attack on his own government ahead of elections in May, when he hopes to win power as head of a new opposition party.
Chilima told AFP in an interview that he no longer speaks to President Peter Mutharika, and he alleged that corruption had worsened u nder the current government.
Chilima was Mutharika’s running mate in the 2014 election, but the t wo have fallen out spectacularly.
“I send my communication (to the president) as notification that I am travelling — that is as much communication as there is,” Chilima said, adding there was ‘no relationship’ between the two men.
Chilima, 45, a wealthy former businessman, is seen as a young challenger to Mutharika, 79.
He quit the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) last year and set up the United Transformation Movement (UTM) to contest the election.
Under Malawi’s constitution, the vice president cannot be sacked by the president.
Speaking at his grand official house decorated with oil paintings and surrounded by extensive gardens in the capital Lilongwe, Chilima told AFP that corruption and bad leadership had worsened poverty in one of the world’s poorest countries.
“People in leadership positions ... have known what needed to be done but they have done the opposite,” he said.
“There is serious plunder of public resources that are meant to improve quality of life. Because of plunder, we have under-sourced programmes that would have brought about a better quality for the citizens.
“We need to have a situation where everybody can eat three decent meals a day. If we cannot feed ourselves, we really cannot do any meaningful developmental activities.” About half of Malawi’s 18 million population live below the poverty line, according to the World Bank. — AFP
Chilima speaks during an interview with AFP at his official residence in Lilongwe. — AFP photo