Malawi’s opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) president and 2014 presidential candidate Atupele Austin (AA) Muluzi has said that he would offer the people “renewal and regeneration”.
Speaking to a mammoth crowd that came to attend Sunday’s UDF rally at Masintha Ground in the capital Lilongwe, Atupele maintained his pledge to practice civilised politics departing from the hate-speeches.
“I am saying no to politics of castigation. For 50 years we have been practicing politics of ‘zotukwanizana’ what have we benefited from that type of politics,” he said to thousands of people mostly the youth and women.
“My vision is people centered and I will be focused on issues,” insisted Atupele who recently resigned from the Cabinet where he served as Minister of Economic Planning and Development since April this year.
During the rally, the crowds laughed out loud, clapped and cheered when Atupele reeled off a list of issues on his ‘Agenda for Change’ platform.
Atupele announced that next year, UDF will hold a policy convention to look at guidelines in job creation, food security, health, energy and water, among other issues.
The crowds also responded to say the issue of border dispute on Lake Malawi with Tanzania should be included.
The UDF president told the crowds that Dr Godfrey Chapola will chair the upcoming policy conference.
At the conference, Atupele son of first president in Malawi multi party rule, Bakili Muluzi, said: “This will be a first of its kind for a political party in Malawi to ensure that there is ownership and consensus on the policies moving forward. The aim of the Policy Conference is to solicit views from the people.”
University of Malawi political scientist Dr Blessings Chinsinga has said if the UDF Policy Conference will be successful, it will make Malawians view Atupele in different light as his own man.
“He has already started taking steps in the right direction and if he just follows them, we might see him as his own man, not daddy’s good boy,” Chinsinga is quoted by Sunday Nation.
The newspaper reported that Atupele’s decision to resign from Cabinet has resonated with Malawians, according to its survey.
Bridge social inequalities
Outlining his agenda, Atupele said the country needs to bridge the social inequalities.
“The time has come to bring together a new generation of thinking, old and new to build a new Malawi,” he said.
“We need to re-think about how we can create decent paying jobs through, manufacturing, new investments,support small businesses and entrepreneurs who are the lifeblood of our economy,” he said.
“We need to create an enabling environment for Malawian businesses, large and small, so that they can makethe most of the advantages of globalization and regional integration which offer remarkable opportunities bycreating a profitable movement of goods and services that broaden the chances to travel to new markets for ourbusinesses,” added the presidential hopeful.
He said the voice of women and other vulnerable groups should be heard and responded upon.
“That process beginsby ensuring that we have elected representatives at local level. This process says ‘no one is less important andencourages a sense of patriotism self respect and dignity.”
Atupele also said there is need to strengthen transparency and accountability at all levels.
“Malawians should be vested with power to act ontheir own choices and hold decision makers to account.”
The Machinga North East lawmaker who started his speech by recognising the presence of Malawian number one musician Lucius Banda, the self-styled ‘soldier of the Poor Man’, who has been co-opted in UDF national executive committee (NEC), the party’s decision-making body, said he was “at home” in Lilongwe.
“Just as I said in Kasungu, when I come here to the Central Region, I always say I have come home , And I know that when you see me you say wammudzi wabwera,” he said.
Adding: “Because I know that as I am speaking here now, my grandmother at Msinja, at Masula (in Lilongwe) is listening. Yesterday I was there, Ndipo agogo anga amvekere, a Gausi, khala apa udye chinangwa. I had to remind her, that grandma, I am a President of a Party!”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :