Malawi Vice-Pres­i­dent turns op­po­si­tion can­di­date in elec­tion race

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - WORLD -

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

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