Chakwera’s aide says Chilima was not to run

…ask Sean Kampondeni for public strategy

Propaganda from State House or reality? Close associates of the departed vice president Saulos Chilima are left to defend his legacy as State House has claimed that he had agreed not to run in 2025 but support President Lazarus Chakwera.

Executive Assistant to President Chakwera, who is also his son-in-law Sean Kampondeni, over the weekend, posted on his Facebook for a few hours an expose in which he claimed the Late Dr. Chilima had consulted him prior to his death on possible ditching of his presidential ambitions.

Given his position and being a long-time spokesperson for the President, it can be safely concluded that Kampondeni had the blessings of the first citizen, or the president had similar knowledge of the conversations that he claims he had with the late Chilima.

The Investigator Magazine was informed in May 2024, days before the dropping of charges, that the Vice President and President Chakwera had made a deal that would see his charges dropped, and later, he would be offered the Prime Minister position in lieu of running.

Close friends of the vice president indicated that after being play a “fool” it was illogical to expect the Late Chilima that he would be fooled twice and wait for another five years.

“If he created that impression, he was playing with them the way they played him the past four years,” said one of the closest aides to the departed vice president.

Sean Tsanzo Kampondeni who signed off the message with STK, a close resemblance to the famous late Chilima’s label SKC (Saulos Klaus Chilima) was part of his day 13 mourning of the 21-day national days of mourning. He ironically titled it; “Remembering SKC’s Shrewdness.”

“This is probably the most difficult attribute of Saulos Klaus Chilima to talk about, partly because some people regard shrewdness as a vice rather than a virtue and also partly because this is an attribute that SKC preferred to operate in silence,” pined Kampondeni.

He said he believes that “shrewdness is indispensable to leadership” pulling a religion clarion that “, if the messianic admonition for us to “be as shrewd as serpents and as harmless as doves” is anything to go by, signifying that whether any leader’s shrewdness is a virtue or vice depends on the causes and ends for which they use it.”

The President closest advisor and aide wrote, “So we cannot truly understand the depth of SKC’s leadership acumen without reflecting on the shrewdness he skilfully and silently used to navigate the competing and contradicting interests at play in the complicated political terrain of Malawi where religious, traditional, corporate, institutional, business, community, civil society, media, tribal, and diplomatic leaders all clandestinely push some political agenda that advances their parochial interests.”

Kampondeni said he last met Dr. Chilima on on Wednesday, May 22nd which was after a meeting at Kamuzu Place and that the late vice president asked him to accompany him to Kumbali Lodge for a reception in honour of Prime Minister Benediktsson of Iceland.

The president’s assistant claims: “He said, “Chief, I am representing the President at this reception, and I’d love for you to come. And if you don’t mind, you can add your car to my convoy so that we go together and enjoy a good meal after the difficult discussions you and I have been having.” I accepted this rare honour to join his motorcade, and off we went.”

Kampondeni also reveals that he had met Dr. Chilima at his house on the 16th of May and had discussions over what he calls “difficult discussions.”

“The difficult discussions he was referring to had taken place in his study at home just six days prior. During that conversation, he had expressed his anxiety about the radicals in both MCP and UTM, whom he feared would oppose what he was planning to do in the 2025 elections, namely, to be the person in charge of President Chakwera’s 2025 re-election campaign,” claims Kampondeni.

He adds, “He made it clear to me that day that he knew which radical loyalists in both parties would not easily accept this proposition, but he said his mind was quite made up about it, though he wasn’t sure how to align those loyalists to his intentions, and so he asked me to advise on this aspect, for as he put it, “I need clear heads for this.”

Claimed that SKC asked him for a strategy – Kampondeni

Kampondeni does not say much on MCP radicals and what they would have not been happy with Dr. Chilima campaigning for President Chakwera, instead he diverts to praise him as “most viable presidential hopeful of my generation,” despite sitting with President Chakwera for four years being underutilised by the administration.

The presidents associate further claims the late Chilima wanted to have his thoughts “on how to stagger his own presidential bid to support the President’s bid for re-election in 2025 without altogether giving his followers the discouraging impression that he was giving up on the dream of a Chilima Presidency.”

Kampondeni who has been a key figure in Chakwera’s administration as it makes one blunder after another, some altogether avoidable such as hosting of Bridgin Foundation debacle and statements that have come to haunt the presidency- claims the late Dr. Chilima wanted him for strategy.

Bridgin Foundation debacle

“I asked him to give me time to develop a strategy for doing this shrewdly, and so he gave me one month to develop a skeletal road map and told me the name of the person in his office I’d work with to flesh it out upon his return from South Korea, not knowing that once back from Asia he would not live long enough to finalize that strategy or execute it,” charges Kampondeni.

He concludes, “I do not claim that I know whether he was going to go through with this idea, but from that final conversation, I could see that at best he was in two minds about the 2025 presidential elections, due to a complex web of factors, and that he felt that until he was ready to announce what he’d decided, the politically shrewd thing to do was to publicly remain silent about his ambivalence and to keep those who supported either side of his two minds from seeing the other side lest they lose interest in staying engaged in the political process.”

“As a result, some of the acrimony felt by some people in the wake of his death likely stems from the fact that he never had a chance to state publicly whether or not he was going to run for President in 2025,”Kampondeni adds.

Late Chilima and UTM loyalists were furious with the suggestion that they attacked the post until it was taken down.

Late Chilima and UTM loyalists were furious with the suggestion that they attacked the post until it was taken down.

One senior member reacting said, “UTM, real UTM can never ever trust MCP. The same goes for any genuine person. They couldn’t honour a simple agreement now they think without Dr Chilima we will believe them. Really?”

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