From Business Leader to Malawi’s Vice-President

From Business Leader to Malawi's Vice-President
AFP Saulos Chilima served as vice-president for 10 years

Tragic Aircraft Crash Claims Life of Malawian Vice President Saulos Chilima, 51

Tragically, Malawi’s Vice-President Saulos Chilima died at the age of 51 in a military plane crash in a northern jungle, and the country is in sorrow. Chilima, who went from a prosperous commercial career to a prominent political position, was a major player in Malawian politics during his ten years as vice president.

Career Beginnings and Ascendancy to Vice President

It was in Malawi’s business world that Dr. Chilima first gained prominence before he entered politics. His impressive resume includes stints with industry heavyweights Unilever, Coca-Cola, and Airtel Malawi, where he achieved a first: he was the country’s first managing director. His “workaholic” and “performer” reputations drew the eye of former president Peter Mutharika, who appointed him vice president in 2014, praising his leadership and commercial ability.

Political Career and Claims of Corruption

There were many successes and several scandals throughout Dr. Chilima’s time in politics. Accusations of corruption plagued him throughout his political career, despite early accolades for his initiative and efficiency. He went from being an accuser to being accused of the corruption he had previously denounced.

Dr. Chilima caused a stir in 2018 when she openly blasted President Mutharika’s government for its shoddy anti-corruption efforts. Because of a constitutional clause that prevented the president from removing the vice president from office, he was able to stay in office despite calls for his resignation. During this time of unrest, Dr. Chilima formed the United Transformation Movement (UTM), a political party that called for major changes and reforms.

Struggles for the Presidency and the Vote

Dr. Chilima was the UTM presidential candidate in 2019 and came in third. In a historic ruling in African electoral history, the highest court in Malawi overturned Peter Mutharika’s victory in the election because of extensive irregularities. In 2020, Dr. Chilima re-ran the race, this time aligning herself with Lazarus Chakwera, the candidate who finished second in the annulled election, thanks to this unusual verdict. Thanks to their combined efforts, Chakwera was elected president and Chilima was re-elected vice president.

Later Life and Legal Difficulties

There were corruption allegations during Dr. Chilima’s second term as vice president as well. He strongly contested the claims against him that led to his arrest in 2022: that he had accepted bribes in order to influence government contracts. Since constitutional limitations prevented President Chakwera from dismissing him, he opted not to assign him any official responsibilities throughout the duration of his trial. The abrupt and unexplained dismissal of the charges last month has cast doubt on the reliability of the legal system’s ability to deal with allegations of wrongdoing.

Afterlife and Achievements

Dr. Chilima was a brilliant economist and knowledge management expert outside of his political career. He made important contributions to Malawian policymaking and administration during his time as minister in charge of public sector reforms and economic planning.

Personal History and Enduring Impact

Mary, his wife, and their children Sean and Elizabeth are left behind by Saulos Chilima. He was born on February 12, 1973, in the Ntcheu district, central Malawi. His death has been a devastating blow to the country, bringing an end to an exciting and impactful career that he had in politics and business. Dr. Chilima’s complicated legacy stems from his political journey, his contributions to Malawi’s growth, and his indomitable drive.


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