Malawi VP ready to take on incumbent in presidential race

2018-07-05 12:45

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Malawi's Vice President Saulosi Klaus Chilima on Wednesday put his hat in the ring for the 2019 presidential election against his incumbent Peter Mutharika, who is embroiled in a growing corruption scandal.

The vice president broke ranks with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) last month when he quit the party citing unchecked corruption and nepotism.

"I am ready to contest," he said on Wednesday. "If we follow a process that is transparent and democratic, I will present myself as a candidate."

"In the next 10 days, a decision will be made on whether I will go it alone as an independent candidate or as part of an alliance or grand coalition." Chilima said in an interview with Zodiak Broadcasting Station in Lilongwe.

Chilima said his decision to contest the vote follows calls from various stakeholders for him to stand in the election scheduled for May 2019.

His announcement came a day after president Mutharika accepted the nomination of his ruling party, despite being at the epicentre of a leaked report from the country's anti-graft body accusing him of fraud.

Civil action groups have called for Mutharika to resign over claims that he and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) received about $195 000 from a contractor supplying food rations to the police.

Successive Malawian heads of state have been embroiled in graft and corruption allegations in the aid dependent country.

Mutharika was elected in 2014 after his predecessor Joyce Banda was embroiled in the "Cashgate" scandal in which government officials siphoned off millions of dollars of public money.

Banda returned to Malawi in April after four years of self-imposed exile and said she was ready to run in the elections against Mutharika.

In April, thousands of Malawians took part in the country's first nationwide anti-government demonstrations since 2011.

The marches, organised by civil action groups, were against alleged corruption and poor governance under Mutharika.

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Read more on:    malawi  |  southern africa
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