The opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) president, Atupele Muluzi has promised to recover the public funds looted at the Capital Hill under ‘Cashgate’ as well as appoint lean cabinet during his 100 days in office if elected as Head of State during next week’s elections.
Atupele, 35 is one of the main four contenders in the presidential race set for May 20th, 2014. Other contenders include Peoples Party (PP) president, Joyce Banda, Peter Mutharika of DPP and MCP’s Lazarus Chakwera.
Speaking during a news conference at Mount Soche hotel in Blantyre, Atupele said his cabinet appointment would be “credible and professional “, adding it will consist of people that have will of people at heart.
The briefing aimed at providing some powerful reminders of what our Agenda for Change stands for and the party’s commitments to all Malawians on what will deliver within the first 100 days and beyond was attended by Atupelei’s wife Angela, Publicity Secretary, Ken Ndanga, Secretary General, Kandi Padambo, organizing secretary, Lilian Patel, and former Governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi, Victor Mbewe.
“As the President of the Republic of Malawi after 20th May 2014, I and my team pledge to ensure that all stolen monies through cash gate are returned to our state confers and institute a transparent mechanism for re-allocating and accounting for these resources, (that is, through our national budget to be developed within the 100 days), to key priority areas including health, education, social protection, youth and women empowerment,” said Atupele.
He then pledged to establish a permanent National Economic Planning Commission to oversee coherent policy planning and implementation, adding his administration will comprise honest and accountable leaders that will always render itself open to public scrutiny.
“Our pledge should not be mistaken for mere words as is the usual practice with most pronouncements; but rather, this is a social, political and economic contract that we, the UDF are vowing with all Malawians. We must and should be held accountable to delivering on this contract,” he said.
The UDF presidential hopeful said the infamous cash gate scandal illustrates the massive consequences of what happens when leadership fails to deliver on the three key tenets his party is to implant and achieve.
“When leaders are unable to articulate policy priorities and implement them through a credible and budget and are unable to operate credible financial management and oversight systems to protect the public purse; they embezzle the scarce resources Malawians need to stock drugs in hospitals, build classrooms, and pay teachers/health workers.
“They also erode confidence of our potential business investors who are vital to creating jobs, especially for the youth and fail to provide macro-economic stability which is necessary for sustainable and inclusive growth”.
He pledged to set out a robust budget that will clearly outline “our hard choices within competing priorities and our efforts to grow and stabilize Malawi through our priority sectors.”
Atupele amidst chants of support from supporters, also pledged to implement a self-imposed austerity program which will include minimizing overseas and internal travel by the President, Vice President, cabinet Ministers and senior government officials.
He also pledged to empower oversight institutions, including the media.
“We will bring the access to information bill to Parliament and sign the Table Mountain Agreement on Media Freedom promptly,” he said.
He said: “As we prepare to cast our vote within the next 8days, I invite you to walk with me, dare to aspire with me and to: Dream of a Malawi that is poised to change its destiny. Choose a destiny that will change our current and future generations. Find and assert our place within the region, continent and the world.
“Let us dream, choose, find and shape Malawi’s destiny. Let us all turn up and cast our crucial vote,on Tuesday, next week.”
Atupele told journalists that he is “ ready” to Malawi’s next president after May 20 elections :”I am ready to serve Malawi.”
Later, Atupele held whistle stop meetings in Blantyre assuring his supporters that his Agenda for Change became a “game change”r to the Malawian political landscape.
“First, it helped to begin to shift focus from personality based politics to an issue-based political discourse. Second, it brought to the fore-front core issues that had been consistently ignoredfor a very long time: delivering real change and transformation; the importance of goodleadership and the role of the youth within our society.
“And these are the core issues that have infused if not dominated the various campaign platforms to date.”
He pointed out that the first ever UDF Policy Conference also highlighted the importance of listening to ordinary Malawians from all walks of life and putting them at the heart of decision making processes.–(Additional reporting by Zawadi Chilunga, Nyasa Times)Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :