"It's shameful that the UDF party wants to take us back to the dark days,"

Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Malawi Vice President breaks silence

Embattled Vice-President Cassim Chilumpha has called for unity among Malawians if the country is to develop.

Chilumpha made the remarks in Blantyre Wednesday when he joined
thousands of Muslims who attended Eid-ul-Fitr prayers, which mark the
end of the month of Ramadan.

The prayers were held at the Chichiri upper stadium.

Chilumpha described unity as the backbone of development in any country.

“We have to unite to achieve the State President’s [Bingu wa Mutharika] vision of developing the country,” said Chilumpha.

Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations this year were held under the theme of “Unity: A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim”.

Chilumpha thanked the Muslim community in the country for braving what he called trying times of fasting and praying.

“Celebrate Eid in peace and remain united,” he advised.

Speaking at the same function, Nikkah and Other Islamic Functions
Association (Noifa) Chairman Aman Kunje said the 30-day fasting period
was hard and difficult but people had to endure if they were to harvest
the best.

“We have managed to contain ourselves, to contain a lot of pain and avoided things God would not want,” said Kunje.

He further said the significance of Eid is the completion of fasting and “as we have come to an end, we are happy”.

“This is brotherhood in Islam according to the Quran. We have to settle
all our differences, and we should reach a point where we can say all
is over and re-unite,” he said.

The prayers, accompanied by other activities like songs and dances apart from prayers, were also conducted across the country.

Chilumpha, a devout Muslim, has been out of the public eye and ear for some time following his house arrest on treason charges.

Government accuses him of allegedly hiring two South Africa-based assassins to kill Mutharika.

His treason case is still ongoing at the High Court in Blantyre.

Apart from his court appearances for the treason case, the other time
he came to the limelight was in April this year when he challenged
opposition UDF national chairman and former president Bakili Muluzi for
the party’s presidential candidate position.

During the elections for the party’s torch bearer in the 2009 presidential race, Chilumpha lost miserably to Muluzi.

Apart from the underground campaign his group conducted with assistance
of jailed former UDF spokesman Sam Mpasu and the party’s Taskforce,
Chilumpha did not sell himself to the voters.

Things became worse for him when organisers of the UDF convention told
delegates that Muluzi funded the indaba and was responsible for their
transport costs and meals.

Even songs by UDF member and Muluzi’s personal assistant Lucius Banda
were all in praise of the former president, thereby giving undue
advantage to Muluzi over his rival.

Meanwhile, Chilumpha is reportedly vying for Nkhotakota South
constituency where he is likely to face UDF favoured and his former
lawyer in the treason case and old time friend Fahad Assani.

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