In the run up to the May 21 watershed elections, the choice of running mate made headlines to such an extent that torch bearers of the major parties were totally confused and could not see the perfect partner within the ranks and files of their parties. Malawi Congress Party was better off, running mate was already known in the name of Sidik Mia. UTM President Saulos Klaus Chilima, having realized that UTM was a new brand on the political scene, settled for a comedian Michael Usi, thinking that his popularity as an artist would act as a magnet during rallies.
However, Professor Peter Mutharika, knowing pretty well that running a government is a serious business, he dedicated more time in searching for a man of high sense of integrity and unquestionable character. APM was aware that some have made names in politics through dubious means so partnering with such individuals was outright suicide. After a deep meditation, APM settled for a humble man from Ntcheu District, Everton Chimulirenji. Chimulirenji, the then member of Parliament for Ntcheu North East Constituency, had emerged as a surprise pick. People talked a lot but in the long run, APM and Chimulirenji proved to be a deadly combination. In fact Chimulirenji held several rallies that unbelievably attracted mammoth crowd. On May 21, people spoke. APM was declared winner, Chimulirenji automatically became Vice President of the Republic of Malawi.
Now, it’s about three months since Chimulirenji assumed the office of the vice president. A fair analysis of his three months’ stay at plot number 2, points to the fact that he is a servant leader. Chimulirenji has proved to be workaholic who does not like talking much, thus moving along with the wind of progress. He knows pretty well that time for a lot of political rhetoric is over. It is rather time for actions. And he is doing exactly that by serving Malawians with passion. Now, this is where we bring the critics of APM’s choice of Chimulirenji a quote from Wallance D. Wattles: “To think according to appearance is easy; to think truth regardless of appearances is laborious, and requires the expenditure of more power than any other work man is called upon to perform.”
Going by his history, it is apparent that Chimulirenji wasgiven a leadership position, but he was by nature a servant—someone who was focused on helping others. The leadership position that was given to him could be taken away. His servant nature—his desire to help others—is a part of his character, and it cannot be taken away.
It’s a common grumble that politicians’ lifestyles are farremoved from those of their electorate. Not so with Chimulirenji. He lives a life of an ordinary citizen, in fact the only VP who interacts with the people as his friends, sisters, brothers, fathers, mothers and grandparents. This is where Chimulirenji is exceptional and that is why his political life is likely to serve as a lesson for both the old and new crop of politicians.
Hours after Chimulirenji was unveiled, State House press secretary Mgeme Kalirani, said President Mutharika’s choice of Chimulirenji was a decision made in favour of maturity, profound character, political experience and the continued solidity of the DPP. Kalilani was just spot-on and his words are being vindicated by Chimulirenji himself. He is really a servant leader at heart. Additionally, the Vice President is no doubt hard working. He looks very energetic. Even his stature speaks volume of him. It is everybody’s wish to see a cordial working relationship between the two up to the end of their five-year term.
Views expressed in this article are those of the author.