First, the Right Hounorable Vice President Everton Herbert Chimulirenji (EHC), 56, is the second son of Ntcheu soil to ascend to the second highest position in Malawi since Malawi embraced pluralism 25 years ago to end one-party dictatorship.
It was Saulos Klaus Chilima who broke the notched record when President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, handpicked him from the corporate world, to be his running mate in 2014 and eventually became second VP.
The rest about Chilima, whose VP position he held from 2014 to May 28, 2019 when Chimulirenji officially was sworn in, is another story.
Secondly, the new VP, who took oath on Tuesday at a colorful ceremony at the Kamuzu Stadium as his wife Judith among the celebrating crowd, comes from Ntcheu North East constituency, the same home area as that of Chilima. One might say NU North East is a blessed constituency.
The only difference between Chimulirenji and Chilima is that Chilima has never been a lawmaker, while Chimulirenji has been to the August House twice, having been elected by his constituents in 2009.
Chimulirenji, known to shy away from publicity, did not make it on May 21 on his third attempt to be a backbencher. Instead, the constituents decided to try Arthur Enoch Chipungu, an independent. Probably they knew Chimulirenji was on his way to State House as VP, so why not save state funds for a bye-election.
But EHC is not a political novice. After a stint in the Ministry of Works and later as an entreprenur, he joined mainstream politics in 2005 when the late President Bingu wa Mutharika mooted DPP, after dumping UDF, a party that ticketed his presidential candidacy.
EHC, who qualified in Business Management, probably never knew he would be chosen by APM to be his running mate in March this year. It was quite a big surprise to many political buffs.
It was his character that must have attracted APM. “I have chosen a member of my cabinet, a man of integrity, maturity and a long serving and dedicated member of the party,” APM said of Chimulirenji, presenting him to Malawians.
APM added: He is a team player and grassroots person. Chimulirenji had cut his political teeth as district governor for NU, lawmaker for ten years, deputy national organising secretary, deputy minister of Defence, DPP’s national campaign director and Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development.
APM tightly kept the secrecy of his appointing Chimulirenji as his running mate close to his chest until on the day of presenting nomination papers. As part of the act, APM rode alone in an open car from the picturesque Sanjika Palace until he reached the Universal Industries along Henry Chipembere Highway.
APM’s car stopped. EHC emerged among onlookers and what looked like some security personnel in suits. He was ushered into the car to join APM. Some ululated and the secret had been open. Many DPP officials and supporters seated in the Comesa Hall waiting for the arrival of APM and his running mate didn’t know that Chimulirenji was the NU son of the soil coming to break the record.
During rallies, he used to tell supporters: “I will be your Vice president after elections.”
So, on May 28, he officially became the Right Honourable Everton Herbert Chimulirenji, Vice President of the Republic of Malawi.
Indeed, so God will help EHC until 2024.