Atupele draws crowds in Mangochi: Pledges new airport, stadium

The crowds tell the story. Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) President Atupele Muluzi took his campaign for presidency in the May 20 elections to stronghold eastern lakeshore district of Mangochi on Wednesday where he drew large and excited throngs as he pledged to upgrade the town of Mangochi through the construction of new infrastructure should he win the elections.

Atupele, maintaining his declaration that he is ready to govern the country after the elections, made the pledge when he held a campaign rally he addressed at the old Mangochi Airport.

The UDF presidential candidate said as a tourist destination, the lakeshore district needs a boost in its infrastructure.

“When we get into government, the UDF will build a new Airport in Mangochi,” he said amid wild applause from thousands of people that turned out.

Atupele speaking to excited crowds

Atupele speaking to excited crowds

Crowds tell a story

Crowds tell a story

Atupele and his running mate Dr Godfrey Chapola in Mangochi

Atupele and his running mate Dr Godfrey Chapola in Mangochi

Mangochi turned up in large numbers....Photo Jeromy Kadewere

Mangochi turned up in large numbers….Photo Jeromy Kadewere

Member of Parliament for the area Clement Chiwaya making his speech....Photo Jeromy Kadewere

Member of Parliament for the area Clement Chiwaya making his speech….Photo Jeromy Kadewere

Listening  to Atupele attentively.....Photo Jeromy Kadewere

Listening to Atupele attentively…..Photo Jeromy Kadewere

People flocking to the rallys venue in large numbers.....Photo Jeromy Kadewere

People flocking to the rallys venue in large numbers…..Photo Jeromy Kadewere

At the podium.....Photo Jeromy Kadewere.

At the podium…..Photo Jeromy Kadewere.

Blantyre City South aspirant Mp Fauziahe Osman was also present.....Photo Jeromy Kadewere.

Blantyre City South aspirant MP Fauzia Osman  join Mangochi UDF women to dance….Photo Jeromy Kadewere.

One of the banners in support of Atupele and Mp Clement Chiwaya....Photo Jeromy Kadewere.

One of the banners in support of Atupele and Mp Clement Chiwaya….Photo Jeromy Kadewere.

Lined up for the presidential candidate to pass through....Photo Jeromy Kadewere

Lined up for the presidential candidate to pass through….Photo Jeromy Kadewere

Yellow we go! After the rally.-Photo by Jeromy Kadewere

Yellow we go! After the rally.-Photo by Jeromy Kadewere

He also said as a sportsman, his administration will build a new stadium in the resort town.

In his address, Atupele, who resigned after briefly serving in President Joyce Banda’s first Cabinet appointed in April 2012, also promised that his government will construct Chilipa and Mangochi-Makanjira roads?

Atupele, son to Bakili Muluzi, Malawi’s first post-one-party State president, told the gathering that the new UDF government will expand Mangochi District Hospital.

“We are going to expand the hospital here and make it a referral hospital in this region,” promised the UDF leader.

Speaking further, the UDF presidential hopeful also stressed the need for devolution of power in Malawi with an aim of spreading decision-making and responsibilities to ensure efficient public service provision.

To this end, Atupele said when UDF gets into government, his administration will make sure that travel documents such as passports and driver’s licenses are issued at district level.

“There is no need for you to be traveling to Blantyre just to process the issuance of a passport or driving licenses, everything will be processed at the district assembly,” he said.

For the past fifteen years, Malawi had no councillors, but in the forthcoming tripartite polls, the country is expected to usher into office ward councillors.

Outlining the party’s manifesto to the people of Mangochi, Atupele said UDF electoral pact centre mainly on economic transformation, food security, job creation, national security and education.

“There’s need for economic change and freedom and that change is coming with UDF. Every Malawian should have money in their pockets to afford basic needs.

“The situation right now is that a few greedy individuals are enriching themselves, forgetting the poor masses,” he said. “People on the grassroots need to be empowered economically through businesses, farming and job creation.”

Aspiring Member of Parliament for Mangochi Central Constituency, Clement Chiwaya, who is seeking a third term in the forthcoming polls, said the people of Mangochi had lost hope after the UDF lost the country’s presidency.

Chiwaya said Muluzi has fought battles to revive the party which was heading into extinction. He cited the arrest of the party’s leader and attempts to bar him from contesting as presidential candidate.

He further pointed out that the campaign period towards May 20 will be a long journey, hence the need for the UDF leadership and followers to focus on the campaign. Chiwaya asked the party supporters to desist from political violence and politics of castigation.

Speaking further, Chiwaya hailed Muluzi, a Muslim, for picking a Christian and a Catholic in the name of Dr. Godfrey Chapola as his running-mate.

“We need an inclusive government. We are all Malawians therefore we should all unite to steer this nation to prosperity, regardless of religious, cultural, racial or regional differences,” said Chiwaya.

Also speaking during the rally was UDF’s director of economic affairs Dr. Victor Mbewe. The former Reserve Bank Governor said Malawi’s financial system is in a crisis as the current administration has failed to run the economy.

He claimed the government of Malawi is struggling financially as indicated by lack of drugs in hospitals, suspension of issuance of passports and driving licenses, among others.

From Mangochi, Atupele will be heading to the capital Lilongwe over the weekend to campaign for his party and outline specifics in the UDF manifesto.

Highlights of UDF’s manifesto include a pledge to introduce social protection policies which will see people without sources of income getting paid by the government and introduction of universal fertiliser subsidy instead of the coupon system in the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp).

Atupele's next stop is Lilongwe and in this photo on Wednesday passers-by in the capital admire a new billboard campaign  erected there

Atupele’s next stop is Lilongwe and in this photo on Wednesday passers-by in the capital admire a new billboard campaign erected there

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