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Cracks between Saulos Chilima, Peter Mutharika?

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President Peter Mutharika and Vice President Saulos Chilima are said to be not in good terms.

But both Chilima and DPP spokesperson Francis Kasaila have dismissed the claims.

In a brief response to Malawi News yesterday, the Vice President said: “My comment is that it sounds to be a wrong observation. Thank you.”

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Kasaila said he would not want to be glorifying speculators.

Recent developments in the DPP have cast a spotlight on the relationship between Mutharika and Chilima.

In his speech in Mulanje during the launch of a Blantyre Water Board Project early this month, Mutharika said while he was away in the United States of America for the United Nations General Assembly, some members of his party were busy sharing cabinet positions.

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Mutharika said he had now known that he was surrounded by some Pharisees and Judas Iscariots.

“Some people in Lilongwe were going to Thyolo asking where my tomb would be. While I was enjoying coffee in New York, some people here were busy planning for my state funeral. The day I die, I will let you know. I will call you and let you know that I am now dead,” said Mutharika.

“During Bingu’s time, there were many and dangerous Pharisees and Judas Iscariots. I did not know that I have those Pharisees around me. They were busy sharing cabinet positions and other positions while I was away. But I told those people that there are only two things one cannot run away from thus death and taxes. Or you may evade tax but certainly not death,” said Mutharika.

He added: “My grandmother used to tell me that when you are running you must watch your step lest you fall.”

Asked what Mutharika implied with this statement, Presidential Press Secretary Mgeme Kalilani said there was no comment to give on the issue.

On Sunday at Masintha ground in Lilongwe, Mutharika called to the podium some cabinet ministers to explain issues related to public service reforms in their ministries.

Chilima is chairing the Public Sector Reforms Commission and he was present at the rally but Mutharika did not invite him to say anything on the matter, a gesture is seen to augment the position of sources that all is not well between the two.

Sources in DPP claim that Mutharika and Chilima are at odds.

Chancellor College political analysts Mustafa Hussein said the statements which Mutharika made in his speech in Mulanje could be a tale of some splits in the party but not necessarily between the President and the Vice President.

“The speech shows that that all is not well in that party. It is a sign that there are squabbles and internal positioning is taking place,” said Hussein.

Hussein said the sharing of cabinet positions which Mutharika referred to may not be referring Chilima.

He also said by not inviting Chilima to explain issues related to public reforms in favour of ministers, Mutharika may have done that just out of respect for the Vice President.

Another Chancellor College political analyst Boniface Dulani said events in the party show that there is greed and hunger for positions and that most of those in the DPP are not following the ideologies of the party but following Mutharika because he has power.

“That reflects that party loyalty is very fickle. It shows that people follow not because of the party’s ideologies but individuals for survival. People will always fight to be where power is,” said Dulani.

“That shows that there are divisions in the party. Things are not ok in the party because if the people were following ideologies, it would not matter to them if the president was in hospital or had passed on,” said Dulani.

Executive Director for Church and Society of the Livingstonia Synod Moses Mkandawire concurred with Dulani that there could be divisions in the party and added that greed has also taken centre stage among the members.

“There are some people who are too greedy thinking of their own survival. They are not there to serve the interests of Malawians,” said Mkandawire.

He cautioned Mutharika to beware of such Pharisees arguing: “It is important for the President to have such information because such people can destroy him.”

DPP spokesperson Francis Kasaila refused to comment on the relationship between Mutharika and Chilima.

“I do not want to discuss personal issues between my two leaders,” he said.

“It is not new. I have heard about it that they are not in speaking terms. I would not want to be glorifying speculators. They can continue speculating.”

About the Sunday’s event at Masintha ground, Kasaila argued: “Why are you just picking on the VP? Why did he [Mutharika] not ask Minister of Foreign Affairs, or Minister of Home Affairs?”

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