I stand so strongly by my conviction that Vice President, Saulos Chilima must resign. The call for his resignation is strictly an issue of moral obligation that any person occupying his office owes the people of Malawi. It is very shocking that neither Chilima nor his supporters see the reason why he should not be receiving millions of allowances and salaries from our taxes without working especially at this critical time in our history when we must unite to fight against mismanagement of government resources.
It also baffles me that neither Chilima nor his UTM supporters see the reason why he must not cling to the same government that he accuses of rampant corruption. Even foreign countries dont understand this and they told Zeinab Badawi to ask Chilima about this overt hypocrisy.
Chilima and his supporters claim that he still goes to the office and therefore still entitled to his salary and benefits worthy millions. But what most people are missing is that Chilima goes to the office as a strategy to escape from the constructive resignation case like his predecessors, Casim Chilumpha and Joyce Banda.
Much as constructive resignation strategy miserably failed to work on both, and can’t work on Chilima too, Chilima knew very well that if he fails to at least go to the office and do nothing, the constructive resignation debate would give the DPP administration a legitimate basis to fight him in court or outside the court and distract his focus from effectively building UTM for his presidential bid. He wanted to, as much as possible, deprive the DPP administration from acquiring any easily available ammunition to fight his abandonment of the party.
But after reading the announcement from the Clerk of Parliament that the fourth meeting of the 47th seating of Parliament will commence shortly on the 19th of November, I have decided to request our Parliament to save us all the trouble of calling for his resignation and just impeach the vice president. The grounds of clear and proved theft of our taxes and moral bankruptcy are more than sufficient for an impeachment motion since they are a sign of betrayal of trust of Malawians.
Both, the presidents and vice presidents of our country can only continue to hold office on condition that the people of Malawi still have trust in their capability to diligently execute constitutional duties of their respective offices. Additionally, our constitution is clear that the office of the president or vice president shall become vacant, among other reasons, when the office bearer is incapacitated.
It is very clear that the vice president is permanently incapacitated by the very fact that he can no longer attend cabinet meetings and carry out delegated assignments because he now opposes the president and government.
Impeachment is the easiest and quickest way to get rid of the vice president and save our taxes and also hold him morally accountable. According to the book ” Trappings of Power,” President Bingu wa Mutharika called for a special meeting of his closest advisors in February 2011 and instructed them to find a very good strategy of removing Vice President Joyce Banda from office ( Ntata 2012, p.215).
Allan Ntata writes that after the meeting he wrote the president informing him that during the previous attempts to remove vice president Chilumpha from office through the constructive resignation case, the court’s majority opinion conveyed the view that the best way to remove the vice president was not through the court but through impeachment in Parliament ( 2012,p.215).
I would like to uphold this view that the court’s majority had that the best way to remove Chilima from office is to impeach him. Politely requesting him to vacate the office won’t work. Civil society organization’s press statements can’t work. Facebook and WhatsApp posts and pictures calling for his resignation can’t work because he is very determined to milk our taxes without working and cling to an allegedly corrupt government. But Parliament impeachment won’t fail and here is the reason why.
According to the constitution, there is need for 2/3 (two third) majority vote for the motion in favor of impeachment of the president or vice president to pass. DPP combined with UDF votes could provide the needed majority vote to pass the impeachment motion. In fact, MCP Members of Parliament could also support the motion for politically strategic purposes like the fact that Chilima and UTM will split the votes of MCP in the central region come May 2019 thereby giving DPP an upper hand to secure a landslide.
But when Chilima gets impeached, UTM will get distracted and disoriented for a while to focus on campaign. The movement will also lose a good number of decided and undicided supporters who will lose confidence in Chilimas candidacy seeing him lose his fight to cling to office. Therefore, much as there are moral reasons to impeach him, there are also political reasons that MCP would find very delicious and palatable to join the good cause.
Under different circumstances, an impeachment of the vice president would give the vice president sympathy votes as people would think he is being victimized. But in this case, a majority of Malawians are already loyal to the major parties of DPP, MCP and UDF, and they already understand that Chilima is being crooked with their taxes and hypocritical about clinging to a government he accuses of corruption.
He has very little support only among some excited social media young people who are frustrated for not to being involved in other major parties. CHILIMA MUST BE IMPEACHED.
Written by: Lyson Sibande, a political commentator.