By Enock Balakasi
Malawi Vice President, Saulos Chilima, on Saturday refused to bow down to calls of some government sponsored Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) that he should resign, saying he would only step down if the CSOs substantiated their calls with a collection of 1.9 million signatures of voters who ushered into power the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime in the 2014 tripartite elections.
Chilima, who is the founding President of United Transformation Movement (UTM) made the remarks during a political rally the grouping held at Nkhotakota LEA School ground.
The rally was organised just a day after the High Court in Blantyre ordered the Registrar of Political Parties to register UTM within seven days.
Chilima reiterated that he was voted into power along with DPP and that only 2014 voters petition would be valid for his resignation and not mere calls of some CSOs.
“DPP wants me to quit as vice president because they have forgotten the role I played in bringing back their party to power in 2014. I will not quit unless they successfully track-down each and every person who voted for me as running mate in 2014,” he said.
In his speech, Chilima asked UTM members who went into hiding because of registration issues to come out because the grouping will now be going through victory after victory.
His proclamation follows the ruling by High Court Judge John Chirwa who ordered that the Registrar of Political Parties should register UTM as a political party within seven days with effect from 21st September 2018.
Chilima also disclosed that UTM will hold its elective conference at the end of this month which will be followed by the grouping’s primary elections.
The UTM leader urged the country to speed up research on medical marijuana following announcement by some investors that they are interested to invest in the sector.
He said Malawi stands to benefit economically with the legalization of well controlled Industrial Hemp.
“Our friends in South Africa, Canada and the United States of America are legalizing Industrial Hemp. Let us not lag far much behind when we know that the legalisation would push Malawi’s economic growth” said Chilima.
He, however, warned that his sentiments were not in support of growing and smoking of the other local cannabis, known for making people feel high and even mad when used excessively.
Chilima also promised to provide piped water to Nkhotakota when he wins in 2019.