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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Is it not time for young blood?

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Age seems to be a common yardstick when it comes to electing leaders to the highest office in a country. Right here, at home, there has been talk about whether Vice-President Saulos Chilima is too young to be president.

To answer a question like this, countries prescribe a minimum age with the aim of ensuring that national leaders portray a certain level of maturity.

In China, the minimum age to be elected president or vice president is 45 years. In Cyprus, the minimum age to be elected president is 35 years old.

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Former American president, Bill Clinton, was elected president when he was 46 years old. Barack Obama became the first black American president at 47 years.

As complex as America’s economy is, Clinton, aged 46, took over and left behind a history of the longest boom and a legacy of a huge and growing budget.

At 46, Clinton did not only manage to lead the United States to prosperity, he also led the World.

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So we cannot buy the propaganda that Ben Phiri started spinning yesterday in attempts to pepper down former first lady, Callista Mutharika’s sentiments that Chilima is the best candidate to represent the Democratic Progressive Party in 2019 elections. For voters looking for insights and answers into what is happening within DPP, Phiri was frustratingly vague. On issues related to Callista, he was sparse.

On matters affecting the party ahead of next year’s polls, he refused to be pinned down.

The self-acclaimed field marshal sounded out of sorts yesterday when he tried to tell reporters that the party is still trying to groom Chilima for the position of President.

This is a party that has presided over massive corruption. This is a party that has the audacity to cut spending on district hospitals across the country for political expediency.

How can President Peter Mutharika, who appears bent on political self-immolation, groom Chilima? This is a President who has presented himself as a parochial, sectional leader.

Mutharika is a leader who has always ring-fenced himself with appointees from his base, thereby deepening the long-held fears of others that he has not overcome his well-known insularity.

Zambian President Edgar Lungu is 61 years old. Mangufuli in Tanzania is 58 years old.

So, our answer to the question is that Malawi needs a young leader now than ever before. We need a vibrant young leader with a vision to lead this country to prosperity. We do not need an aging leader suffering from a crisis of confidence to lead us when everyone around us is moving towards prosperity.

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