THE response by Vice President Saulos Chilima that he was waiting for a “third call” before he makes up his mind to contest against President Peter Mutharika for the presidency of Malawi in 2019, could be misinterpreted by some quarters.
Until now, Chilima had maintained a deafening silence in the face of appeals for him by so-called rebels in the divided DPP, to declare that he will contest for the presidency.
Over the past weekend however, Chilima spoke after an event of the Catholic Church in Dedza.
His message was however, veiled in a parable, in which he said he was waiting for a third call before he would make up his mind and respond to the appeals.
There are some who are pointing out that Chilima, who is known to be a devout Catholic, is simply fasting, praying, meditating and seeking counsel with leaders of his faith, before making up his mind over such a momentous decision.
There are others, however, who are warning that Chilima should be careful not to mix politics with religion.
They are citing events in countries such as Nigeria, Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan, and Northern Ireland, to name but a few, where the highly explosive mixtures of politics and religion have ignited wars that are still raging on in some of these countries.
There is no question that Chilima is under tremendous pressure by many and not only from people of his faith to declare his stand.
He also owes this to those fellow politicians, those behind the so-called Chilima Movement who have broken ranks with fellow DPP members to declare their backing for him.
Most importantly however, Chilima needs to make his position known to those fellow Malawians who see him as representing the best hope out of the crop of current politicians who are steeped in corruption and who have displayed no qualities of inspiring leadership.
As we said before: will the real Chilima please stand up?
His continued silence on this matter will only add to the frustration of Mutharika and his diehard supporters who still have no evidence with which to directly attack Chilima, other than accusing him of betraying Mutharika who had hand-picked him four years ago to be his Vice President.
The Mutharika team has been demonstrating, attacking and venting their vitriol against only those who are calling for Mutharika to step aside and backing Chilima – yet not even mentioning his name.
Mutharika himself has declared, rather surprisingly if not undemocratically, that he would be the DPP’s candidate for the presidency at the convention whose date has not been announced yet.
He has gone ahead to declare that he will crush and destroy anyone who dares to stand against him. “Ndiwanyenya nyenya, “ is how he put it.
Chililma and his team, as the Americans would put it, “have a snowball’s chance in hell” of getting a toehold at such a fixed convention.
Time is running out for Chilima. He owes it to the people to make his position known to the Chilima Movement and the people of Malawi.
What if there is no third call?
Mr Vice President, please speak now or forever hold your tongue.