Atupele charms Mangochi, Machinga: ‘Malawi needs renewal’

Atupele Austin Muluzi one of the front runners in Malawi’s presidential elections scheduled for 2014, running on the United Democratic Front (UDF) party ticket, on Saturday conducted a whistle-stop political meetings in the eastern districts of Mangochi and Machinga, considered as his party’s stronghold.

The son of former president Bakili Muluzi, clad in his charismatic easy yellow attire, brought business to a halt when he held meetings at Namasika Primary School in Machinga district, Masuku Trading Centre, Kwiputi Trading Centre and Idrussi Trading Centre in Mangochi district attracting thousands of people who went to town and made noise, shouting change.

Yellow UDF flags festooned poles at the grounds and jubilant crowds uttered delirious incantations of their approval as the presidential hopeful arrived and, later, addressed the gathered in his typically folksy, humorous, crowd-pulling style.

AA Muluzi as others call him has dubbed his campaign as ‘Agenda for Change.’

Atupele: Selling UDF agenda for change and renewal in stronghold Mangochi on Saturday

His supporters call Atupele, 34 the ‘Obama of Malawi’ because of his youthful age. Other presidential aspirants are over 60 years.

Muluzi told supporters that his change agenda and renewal is focused on social and economic development.

He informed the people that the current challenges Malawi is facing needs the young and modern skilled leaders.

Muluzi said his government will prioritise job creation especially for the youth, delivery of quality education and health services, saying this was cardinal for the attainment of social and economic development.

But the Machinga North East Member of Parliament (MP), who resigned from the Cabinet where he served as Minister of Economic Planning and Development since April this year, after governing PP officials went flat out tongue-lashing at him in Mangochi,  fell short of hitting back when he addressed the people in Mangochi.

“Politics of castigation has no place in the modern democracy,” Atupele said.

“I will not even be intimidated by the castigations which other people in this country are subjecting me. I am focused on the UDF’s agenda and the future we have,” he said.

AA Muluzi told crowds that “UDF will be a force for change.”

“There is need for renewal. A renewal of the leadership in the party, which we have done in UDF [at the October convention] and the country,” said Atupele.

His speech drew cheers and jubilation from thousands of women and men including young boys and girls clad in yellow UDF attire.

Atupele said confidently: “Whether one likes it or not, UDF will bounce back into government in 2014.  Malawi needs renewal.”

UDF secretary-general Kandi Padambo urged the people to move with the rest of the world that are now voting for young leaders. He cited Barack Obama of US, David Cameron of UK and Joseph Kabila of Congo DRC.

Padambo said UDF has a good agenda “to transform Malawi.”

He said the reception that Atupele was getting at the points he was stopping for meetings has been overwhelming.

“This is a clear indication that Atupele Muluzi and UDF have support from Malawians,” said Padambo

He applauded UDF president for leading by example in articulating issues other than attacking his rivals.

Atupele welcomed by supporters in Mangochi

Atupele chat with supporters in Mangochi

Atupele addressing supporters at one of the venues in Machinga

Crowds at one of the venues Atupele addressed in Mangochi on Saturday

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