Malawi’s caretaker President Peter Mutharika’s security aide Norman Chisale is a man on a mission. Chisale’s official designation is Director of Security of State Residences but his actions and what statehouse sources say shows that he is way more than that.
Chisale, once an army corporal, has worked as Mutharika’s bodyguard for a long time. But his name became prominent after Mutharika won the 2014 presidential elections. It was soon after the elections that he and some presidential advisers, with meager civil servant salaries, suddenly became billionaires complete with new fleets of cars, mansions and lodges.
When asked how they got stinking rich within a short period of time after getting into government, these geniuses say it’s from ‘business’. Yet no one knows what magical legitimate business they do. The truth is that their salaries or the businesses they claim to do can not support their current lifestyle. It is obvious that Chisale and friends have through devious and corrupt means amassed so much wealth although many non-questioning Malawians believe they are genuinely successful.
With millions of tax payers’ money in his front pocket and President Mutharika in his back pocket, Chisale’s influence at the centre of the DPP regime has grown tremendously. It’s not surprising that some DPP cadets feel that Chisale is also taking away ‘their share’ of the treasury cake.
In videos that are circulating on social media, the cadets specifically mention that Chisale has blocked their access to MEDF funds. Malawi Enterprise Development Funds (MEDF) is a revolving fund for Malawians who wish to set up small businesses. How Chisale, a mere bodyguard, can be in control of such a fund is not a mystery. It is just another demonstration of how Mutharika is failing to control his ambitious and dangerous bodyguard.
It is obviously clear that some of the riches that Chisale is parading are not from any legitimate business. They are probably part of the 8.9 billion Kwacha whose beneficiaries MEDF can’t trace. It could be this easy money that Chisale is now using to boost his political ambitions.
As part of clearing his way towards these political ambitions, last month Chisale is reported to have constructed a multi-million Kwacha Nthumba CCAP church building in his home village in Ntcheu. Construction of the church cost 50 million Kwacha and was completed within 39 days. He also donated iron sheets to Tchesa CCAP at Nsipe in Ntcheu to the tune of 4 million Kwacha.
Recently Chisale also donated a 42-seater luxury bus to Biwi Sunday School choir of Lilongwe CCAP. The bus is reported to be worth 35 million Kwacha. This month he also took some time to feast with street kids in Blantyre and Zomba.
These expensive ‘charitable’ activities, done at such a high speed, point to one thing; Chisale is positioning himself for a particular political position. It is definitely not a small position. It can’t be the position of a member of parliament. His eyes are definitely set on a bigger prize, the presidency or something closer to that, like the vice presidency.
Chisale is one of the crucial members of Mutharika’s inner circle. He is not only privileged to know Mutharika’s security details, he has total influence on decisions made by the president. This influence has given Chisale a lot of confidence. He believes he could actually become Malawi’s president one day. After all, Chisale and the First Lady are the ones that imposed totally unqualified Everton Chimulirenji on Mutharika as running mate in the annulled 2019 elections. Why wouldn’t he believe that he can become president?
Chisale has tightened access to the president. According to some DPP cadets, it has become impossible to present grievances or advice to the president. This alone points at a president who is not in control and has no clue that people have no access to him. The question is; why has Chisale closed access to the president now? With Mutharika still fighting for another five year term, why has Chisale already started positioning himself for a bigger position? Does he know something we don’t know?
Chisale knows Mutharika’s current state of health well. With each public appearance, Mutharika looks frail. If the public can see Mutharika’s decline in health, what about those close to him like Chisale? They must know more. The speed at which Chisale has re-positioned himself may mean that his assessment of the president’s health is that, in the unlikely event that Mutharika rigs and wins the fresh elections, he can’t finish another five year term because of old age and declining health.
It does not require a degree in rocket science to see that Chisale is positioning himself to become Chimulirenji’s Vice President if he maneuvers his craftiness and make Chimulirenji President. This may sound like fiction but in Malawi politics, anything is possible. Who could have imagined that a professor would be controlled by a former army corporal or choose Chimulirenji, of all the people in DPP, as running mate?
It is important that Malawians understand and appreciate that the clamoring of the cadets that are after Chisale’s blood is a culmination of a problem that is not simply the responsibility of DPP cadets but of every Malawian. It is our responsibility as citizens to stop this presumptuous and greedy thief, for the good of our country, our children and our children’s children.