Some Malawians say potential vice president Everton Chimulirenji’s inability to read and speak English is a problem for the country.
It was revealed yesterday that Chimulirenji who is President Peter Mutharika’s runningmate can barely read and speak English fluently, a prerequisite of one to perform well especially in the high office of the Vice President.
In 2014, aspiring candidate in Ntcheu North East constituency Joseph Malingamoyo challenged Chimulirenji’s victory in the 2014 elections saying the legislator did not make contributions in Parliament from 2009 to 2014 because he cannot speak English.
Some Malawians have also agreed that Chimulirenji’s language deficiency is an issue saying it is t is indicative of the level of education he has acquired.
On Facebook on Tuesday, Thandie Wa Pulimuheya said the DPP runningmate seems to be neither clever nor knowledgeable and hasn’t been appointed for any discernible skills in anything.
“You only need to listen to even Chimulirenji’s Chichewa speeches. He has no ambition to lead the country just to serve Peter Mutharika in eternal gratitude. He doesn’t need English for that.
“Clever non-English-speaking presidents exist all over the world. But they have gone through an education fit for leadership in their own countries. That education is delivered in the educational language of those countries. Our education is delivered in English. Until our education is delivered in Chichewa English will always determine who is fit for leadership and who is not. Whether one agrees with this or not is a different debate. So No he can’t get away with not speaking English aka not being educated enough,” Thandie Wa Pulimuheya said.
Commenting on the issue, Mathews Gamadzi said other jobs require qualifications such as a diploma, degree, masters degree or Phd but politicians are treated with kid gloves.
“Now people are toiling attending evening classes, weekend classes to upgrade themselves so that they compete with others. But when it comes to politics you want them to have an easy go, but why?
“Its high time people aspiring for political positions are subjected to higher qualifications just like the rest of a citizenry. Tell me which other job apart from politics one would be employed because he speaks broken English,” he said.
However, social commentator Onjezani Kenani argued that proficiency in English should not be a yardstick of measuring a person’s ability to lead.
“English is not our language. Failure to speak or write it properly should never be a yardstick for leadership. We have our own languages, Chichewa, Tumbuka, Yao, Lomwe, Tonga, Nkhonde etc. If he had problems speaking any of these, the concerns would have been legitimate. But English? Hell no,” Kenani said in a Facebook post.
Some commenters on the post however argued that Malawians’ should focus on assessing Chimulirenji’s performance in cabinet where he serves as Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development and was previously deputy minister for Defence.