Malawi’s Vice President and the tripartite Oxymoron of silence

Things are not well in Malawi, especially in the ruling party. As the chaos goes on, Veep Chilima, chooses to remain silent. Yet, whether he speaks or not, danger lies on every side.
Things are not well in Malawi, especially in the ruling party. As the chaos goes on, Veep Chilima, chooses to remain silent. Yet, whether he speaks or not, danger lies on every side.

By Uncle Bae

An oxymoron is a fascinating and deliberately parallel statement which aims to elicit knowledge by drawing on the combination of sharp ironies. By definition, it is a figure of speech in which deceptively contradictory terms appear in conjunction.

A popular example of an oxymoron is, “the silence speaks”, or perhaps even “deafening silence”

Oxymoron’s are the mark of a genius, the playground for wordsmiths.

Silence seems a peculiarly interesting subject when it comes to oxymoron’s. Besides the above two, my friend Raphael Tenthani had a favourite one of his own, which goes –

”a Wiseman once said nothing”

Silence is quite the oxymoron because, technically, silence is nothingness, it is a form of non-action, therefore non-action by implication cannot be a form of action (in the same way darkness is not a presence but merely the absence of light)

There is no greater illustration of this parallel nature of silence, as perhaps in the subject of law. In law, you have the right to remain silent, but there are times when silence is assumed to be admission of guilt – take for example Oscar Pistorius’s decision not to take the stand at initial trial.

Allow me to be demi-god today, and make an oxymoron out of oxymorons – “a Wiseman said nothing, but the silence speaks”

So where does Chilima fit into the triple dilemma of oxymoronic silence?

The young Ngoni soldier has been silent. Very silent.

Now, I won’t rush to say that his silence is directly paramount to wisdom. I have always held that Chilima is a Wiseguy, and not a Wiseman. (spoiler –  wise guy is a half smart imbecile)

I did not deliberately call him an outright plump-brain, well most because his case is as curious as the white Ox.

Chilima was parachuted into the ruling party DPP, and into Presidency. He did so not because the party wanted him, but at the invitation and pleasure of Peter Mutharika. (some claim sexual pleasure as well – but I have no evidence that the President and his deputy sample each other’s bum)

Now Mutharika is sick, dead, dying, or passed out somewhere in the world. Chilima finds himself starring down the barrel of a familiar unfavorable gun – DPP plan to eliminate him!

Remember Joyce Banda? Enough said!

In fact, Chilima might well face the AK47, and not the rubber bullet that hit Joyce Banda.

In 2012, Bingu died in somewhat of a shocker. DPP was surprised, caught off guard. Bingu ruled with an iron fist, and his intelligence unit(s) were water tight. Pinocchio on the other hand has been known to be struggling for a long time, and DPP have a plan – Chilima has no place in that plan, maybe just a state sponsored funeral, maybe.

The writing is clear on the wall. In his absence, the DPP is making Presidential appointments.

Now herein lies the entertainment of the oxymoron. Veep’s silence is commendable because a wise man once said nothing, yet worrying because it speaks volumes.

I should admit, he has my sympathy and I write for the masses, I believe most people also sympathize with him.

To put it straight, Malawians know the role he played to put DPP in power and that is surely a sin most people can easily forgive if he takes a stand of the majority.

His silence may mean few things. It might be that he wants to monitor the situation and make an informed and sober decision or it might also mean that he wants to swim with the corrupt DPP fishes. That is his suicide so to say.

And yet, my combination of oxymorons best explains Veep’s position as silence continues.

The sympathy he might be enjoying now is because people see a distance between DPP misrule and Veep, but his silence is closing that distance. His silence is slowly being taken as an admission of guilt. Malawians cannot always be taken for granted I believe the Veep knows that.

Whatever it is being planned against him, may fire burn it and whatever good decision he has in stock for Malawians, we are patiently waiting. May he be reminded that such a decision will either make or break him.

As for what decision he ought to make – therein lies the problem – the devil in the detail!

  • Uncle Bae is an anonymous political analyst from Malawi, widely thought to be the ghost of murdered journalist Raphael.