With a brown envelope stashed with US dollars in one hand and a warped smile on his face, embattled businessman Zuneth Sattar on that fateful day turned into a mortician whose sole duty was to commit the remains of Saulos Chilima’s political career to its final resting place.
And by yielding to that brown envelope, the once charismatic politician who breathed freshness into the country’s political fibre now rests isolated, dejected and ashamed of his actions that have made him a poster boy of corruption overnight.
The Anti Corruption Bureau’s final report presented to President Lazarus Chakwera brings to light how the 49-year old Chilima abused his office and received kickbacks from Sattar, and probably many other business people, in a grandiose self-enrichment scheme.
Following the shocking revelations, President Chakwera has chosen common good over political friendship. He fully appreciates that Malawi has over the years become a corruption hotspot hence the need to clean the house and do so swiftly.
The man with whom he entered office has strayed into the wilderness of corruption and theft. The nation cannot wait for the wanderer to return to good ways. This is why President Chakwera has chosen to cut him loose at the earliest opportune time.
“As for the Vice President, his office is unique in that the Constitution does not provide for his suspension or removal from it by the President, because he holds that office by the will of Malawian voters, which I respect. As such, the best I can do for now, which is what I have decided to do, is to withhold from his office any delegated duties while waiting for the Bureau to substantiate its allegations against him and to make known its course of action in relation to such,” said Chakwera in his national address on Tuesday night.
Yes, Chilima might have held a good amount of goodwill from a section of Malawians but his actions in relation to Sattar blows everything into the wind.
Going forward, the Vice President will have to sit, wait and wait a little longer to see if he survives the laborious court battles that lie ahead.
As for his political career, the dirges have been sung, eulogies cited and coffin lowered six feet under.
In a few months the tombstone will read “Here lies a political career whose demise came about due to self-serving greed, lack of patriotism and absolute lack of moral drive”