“We learned about honesty and integrity – that the truth matters… that you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules… and success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square.” – Michelle Obama
Scheduled for today’s talk was an interrogation of President Lazarus Chakwera’s performance from 2020 to date, using the same lens with which he denigrated his predecessor.
While this is important and an excellent idea, it can wait. It must wait because time-sensitive developments are afoot. Slowly but surely, a whodunit is unravelling. At the end of the day, both belligerents will lose.
This discourse dissects three elements, viz. President Dr Lazarus Chakwera, Vice President Dr Saulos Chilima and Tonse Alliance; then concludes with free advice.
The Chilima Imbroglio:
Let’s start with Chilima. 21 June 2022 is a date we should diarise as the beginning of the end of the Chakwera-Chilima pact.
While it was an open secret that the Chakwera-Chilima partnership was under constant bombardment from Chakwera’s hangers-on, Chilima seemed ready to a fault to eat humble pie.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was Chakwera’s decision to side-line him even before he had been charged or heard by the ACB on allegations that he is one of Sattar’s inside men and that there are extensive phone recordings to back this allegation up.
Chakwera’s decision, announced on Tuesday, 21 June 2022, was based on a report prepared by the ACB at Chakwera’s behest a month ago.
Now, as you might recall, the bombshell was followed by a counter-announcement of Chilima’s intention to address Malawians.
However, before Chilima’s address, leaders of the parties that comprise the Tonse Alliance met.
Rather than inspire, the meeting was a total waste of time. Because while the number one evil torturing Malawians since 1994 has been corruption; and while the arrest of Sattar by British authorities is a watershed moment in fighting grand corruption in Malawi, which the collective Tonse Leadership ought to capitalise on by hammering while the iron is hot, the statement released after the meeting makes no mention of a resolve to fight corruption.
Tonse’s concerns, as per the Press Release dated 25 June 2022, are upholding the Alliance and addressing the “socioeconomic challenges” faced by Malawians.
Look here, of what use to ordinary Malawians is “upholding” a dysfunctional alliance which promised the moon but is delivering nepotism, sustaining corruption, and keeps concocting daily excuses for its failure to take Malawians to the promised land?
The continued existence of the Alliance, if you ask me, is only beneficial to those leading the Alliance because it’s a vehicle for getting their friends and kith and kin government jobs and business opportunities.
On addressing Malawians’ “socioeconomic challenges,” one need not be Albert Einstein to know that without eradicating corruption, any talk of development is mere talk.
This is why I was distressed to note that the most crucial subject on Malawian minds, i.e. Sattar’s capture of our national institutions and redoubling the resolve to fight corruption, was not on the agenda.
As far as I am concerned, this is further evidence that Sattar’s tentacles have left no one behind, hence Tonse leaders’ move to gel and protect each other.
Chilima, however, did not buy the unity talk. On Friday, he came out firing on all cylinders. Taking no prisoners, he spilt the beans on the secretive spirit and tenets of the Chakwera-Chilima covenant and implications thereof.
b) The Chakwera Conundrum:
The most exciting piece of information from the Chakwera-Chilima Pact is the now-abandoned commitment to amend Section 91(2) of the Malawi Constitution to remove presidential immunity from criminal prosecution.
To be fair to Chakwera, for Legal Reforms, he has done absolutely nothing. Furthermore, earlier this year, he inexplicably failed to table a Bill intended to free the ACB from the whims of the Director of Public Prosecutions despite personally, I mean personally, assuring the Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee he would.
Chakwera’s inability to keep his word boggles the mind why anyone should take his word on any vital matter seriously.
Whereas duplicity is typical among ordinary citizens, it has no place in a president. Come to think of it, it is outright unpresidential.
What is next? In the first place, Chilima should tell his UTM supporters in no uncertain terms to stop intimidating ACB officers who need to reach him, grill him, charge him and, if grounds exist, commence proceedings.
The longer this thing drags, the more it will distract him from Campaign 2025. Case authority is former president Bakili Muluzi’s case, in which Bakili himself is partially responsible for avoidable delays.
Second, Chilima should realise that the Alliance was, as he put it, a scam and move on. Once and IF he proves his innocence, he can hit the road and inform Malawians of the con of the century.
His call for another Fresh Presidential Election, in my opinion, is a nonstarter because, as Chilima knows very well, it lacks legal legs on which to move on.
Third, from his insistence on removing presidential immunity, it seems he knows more than he is telling.
The insinuation is that Chakwera has done something(s) which, were he not shielded by Section 91(2), he would face prosecution.
I urge Chilima to come out in the open right now and reveal what he knows and offer evidence while he is in his bean-spilling mood.
Section 91(2) might shield Chakwera from court prosecution, but it won’t protect him in the Court of Public Opinion where the voters dwelleth.
Should Chilima wish to keep this as insurance for later use, it will look like blackmail. And that’s not all. By the time he reveals it, whatever it is will have gone stale, and no one will be interested.
If he makes the revelation too close to the elections, it will be worse because sitting on such information will not only make him an accomplice but will be disparaged as campaign noise.
As for Chakwera, it’s about time for serious soul-searching. Sincerity and honesty are the hard currencies that good leaders trade in.
On the other hand, insincere and dishonest leaders fool some people for some time but not all people forever.
Now, with the act of hoodwinking the Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee and the pathological failure to keep his word, as Chilima would have us believe, open-minded Malawians are beginning to question Chakwera’s integrity.
If Chakwera doesn’t change course, he will join the bandwagon of former leaders whose only use in history is as examples of bad leaders, and there is hardly any glory in such infamy.
By the way, have you ever heard of Joseph B. Wirthlin? He asserted that: “honesty is of God, and dishonesty is of the devil.” He further noted that “the devil was a liar from the beginning.”
Let us emulate everyone and everything but for Chis’ sake, not the devil!
No, please, not the devil.
Follow us on Twitter: