United Democratic Front (UDF) presidential candidate Atupele Muluzi has been in the central region on a campaign mission this week in a deliberate move to get a fair share of region’s vote riding on the fact that it is his mothers home land.
Apparently as a strategy the UDF leader has chosen to take his campaign to the rural areas deliberately avoiding the urban centres.
Although the region has been predominantly Malawi Congress Party (MCP) strong hold the 2009 election results proved that with a good campaign strategy any party can win the election in the region.
The party lost constituencies considered MCP strong holds in the districts of Dowa, Mchinji, Dedza, Lilongwe and Kasungu.
There is no guarantee that the party will reclaim these constituencies in the forthcoming election.
The combination of Atupele with his linkage to the Masula chieftancy of the chewa, a predominant tribe of the central region and Dr.Godfrey Chapola another typical Chewa brings a dimension where the central will be a battle ground for supremacy.
The youngest presidential contender enjoys support of young people across the political regional divide in the urban and rural areas .
During his rallies conducted so far ‘the blood is thicker than water’ adage seems to be playing a central role to his advantage.
His demeanor, whether by design or upbringing reflects traits of a Chewa cultured son.
” He is our own son. According to our culture which is matrilineal a child belongs to the mother’s side and therefore Atupele is a true son of the central region”, said one chief from the area of Lundu in TA Mazengera.
His youthfulness and style of clean politics focusing on issue-based campaign gives him impetus against other candidates.
But as one chief puts it the real battle is between Atupele and MCP leader Lazarous Chakwera who will also use an established political party.
“We have two sons and obviously we will be divided between the two but the one who delivers a better message will definitely carry the day,” one observer Gervasio Mwale from Lilongwe said.
In a country where regionalism and ethnicity has an influence on voting pattern the Atupele factor should not be ignored in the region.
With slightly over 2million voters the central region is second from the southern region with close to 3million voters.
In his campaign message Atupele emphasised issue based campaign saying politics of castigating has no place in his generation.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :