Behold: The second coming of Agenda for Change, Is the end of PP nigh?

It is with enormous regret that I with immediate effect resign from the post of Minister of Economic Planning & Development.”

The bottom line is: Hon. Atupele Austin Muluzi, M.P. has now broken free from the Peoples Party (PP) led government, an overdue development that I can imagine, sounds like good music to his many supporters.

Saturday, November 10, 2012   – Mangochi:

President Banda speaking in the local vernacular, joined a Muluzi-bashing jamboree, counselling Mangochi citizens “not to be cheated by someone who does not come from the district or cannot speak Yao.” Malawi ruling PP gurus attack Muluzi at JB’s Mangochi rally.

The president was alluding to the forthcoming 2014 general elections in the light of the newly elected United Democratic Front (UDF) Secretary General’sconfirmation on Capital FM Straight Talk popular interview programme that Atupele will be the torch bearer of UDF in the country’s first tripartite polls, despite his temporarily “asylum” in the Peoples Party (PP) dominated cabinet.

Atupele Muluzi addressing mamoth crowds during his UDF’s Agenda for Change movement

Why did it take Atupele so long to finally prove he is “his own man”?

For the gullible, Atupele justified his inclusion and continued stay in the People’s Party (PP) government as Minister as a “duty to help Malawians.”

You should understand the situation we were in as a country. We never knew things would turn the way they turned. So when the President invited me to serve in her cabinet there was no way I could refuse because this was still a service to my country.”  Atupele’s Agenda for Change Still On.

For the discerning however, all this was baloney. And that this was total rubbish has been vindicated by his quick relinquishment of the “saviour mantle” after being subjected to a minor ambush by the PP.

This surprise attack, it should be told, as one esteemed analyst hinted below, is the one thing he should have been expecting.

The main reason of his marriage of convenience to the PP is that the government has his father over a barrel in connection to his father’s K17 billion  indiscretion. The sins of the father were being used to put the son in line, and that is why he had to play ball lest “papa” be incarcerated.

Malawi Political Situation Analysis:

Way back on August 8, 2012, one Garvey Karvei wrote: “Intelligence from highly placed United Democratic Front (UDF) sources have confided in Maravi Post that Atupele will soon break free of PP, and re-launch his campaign with scathing attacks on both PP and DPP, capitalizing on PP’s increasingly glaring weaknesses (basking in insignificant successes and mediocrity) and DPP’s horrific reign.

Intelligence from well-placed People’s Party (PP) sources on the other hand have also confided in Maravi Post that President Joyce Banda is pondering enticing Atupele with a running mate position at the expense of course Khumbo Kachale.

She has a major huddle to cross however, because Khumbo Kachale and Ralph Kasambara among others, will not have such “nonsense” happen under their noses.”  – Politics Bingu’s death dealt Atupele bad card; will he run for presidency in 2014?

The Mangochi rally proved that forces within the PP have finally prevailed on President Joyce Banda to stop entertaining the thought of an alliance with the UDF not to say offering Atupele a running mate position. PP, it seems, will walk alone on the road to 2014.

The Muluzi’ supreme counter-dare:

The Muluzis are aware of what will follow Atupele’s resignation. For a start, the stalled K17 billion case will be revived with a vengeance to throw spanners into the UDF’s campaign machinery.

Muluzi senior is one of the most cunning politicians around, and probably knows that nothing about the Mangochi drubbing was accidental. He would recognize it for what it was: PP’s way of daring Atupele.

The veiled message was: “Go ahead young man, do something ‘stupid’ and crucify your father.”

Tired of blackmail (this is how they view the K17 billion trial) and undaunted by the fact that Ralph Kasambara’s dogs of war will be unleashed on the senior, the Muluzis have accepted the gauntlet. They seem ready and prepared to play hard ball or forever be damned.

Their response to a resuscitated case will most probably take the form of Muluzi senior claiming that the revival of his case is political persecution and that President Joyce Banda, on whose side he stood during the troubledtransition, is yet another ungrateful bigot who is trying to show donors that she is committed to fighting corruption.

And what’s more, the UDF camp will use the case as a campaign tool and politics of sympathy (not issues), something which Malawians are getting sick and tired of, will again take centre stage.

This, of course, is not to say that Muluzi should not be tried, but PP has – typical of what the DPP calls beneficiaries of accidental presidency – failed to manage the political side of the case.

PP’s refusal to learn from history:

Most historians agree that during the Second World War, had Adolf Hitler’s Germany concentrated on defeating Britain before taking on Russia, the Germans would have won the war.

Attacking Russia, which opened a second front and divided Germany’s war machinery, was the tactical blunder that enabled Britain and its allies to weather the now weakened assaults, and to finally salvage the war.

Likewise, the Peoples Party, before taking on a re-united UDF, already had the weakened but not totally finished DPP to contend with and an unpredictable Malawi Congress Party (MCP) to continue feeding with bread crumbs.

What the doctor did not prescribe for PP was to pick an ill-timed fight with UDF.

While this would have inevitably happened, PP’s immediate and current objective ought to have been to tactically disarm friends and foes alike, a task made easier with an Atupele (the UDF Chairman) happily sucking a breast at the expense of his Agenda for Change.

Fort Johnstone, a potential “Stalingrad” for PP:

Taking a deeper look at the venue of the Muluzi-bashing, shows that PP is totally clueless that it was the least ideal place to lambast Muluzi.

Whosoever conceived the idea is oblivious to the fact that in 2009, not only was Mangochi one of the few districts that gave John Tembo more votes (60%) than Bingu wa Mutharika; it is the sole southern region district that heeded Atcheya’s plea too.

Any sane man and woman, would not want to go to Mangochi and trash Atcheya because if Mangochi revered Atcheya Sr to the extent of voting for JZU; it will obviously respect Atcheya Jr.  This is a deduction any political party can argue against at its own peril.

If PP is adamant to make Mangochi the thrust of its anti-UDF campaign on road to 2014, the former Fort Johnstone will be to PP what Stalingrad was to Hitler’s army. The map below emphasises all this.

In 2009 JZU carried Mangochi, thanks to Muluzis support. Would Mangochi dessert another Muluzi?

With such misguided strategies, it doubtful if distributing a few bags of maize will enable PP placate a UDF/DPP twin threat.

It does not matter whether UDF and DPP will join as a coalition or not, because whatever the case, the three parties are scrambling for the populous southern vote.

All above leads to one conclusion: by giving Atupele Muluzi an honourable reason to leave government, PP has effectively curtailed its stay in government and the young Muluzi’s departure from Capital Hill could very well mark the beginning of the end of PP’s short reign.

What now for Atupele?

Atupele, with his well-received resignation, has condemned his father to the case that by hook and crook, he has been reluctant to face. With this “condemnation”, even sceptics have to accept now that Atupele is willing to go the extra mile to severe the umbilical cord.

How many people would, on a matter of principle, condemn their fathers to the whims of the vengeful Ralph Kasambara? Would you? (By the way, there is a rumour going around that Ralph Kasambara strongly feels he is better vice-presidential timber than Khumbo Kachale – our subject for another day; watch this space.)

Atupele can of course make political capital out of his father’s recommenced trial – if this indeed comes to pass; but in his shoes, having demonstrated that am independent, I would steer clear and chart my own path.

Conclusion:

Gifted by a bumbling PP, Atupele of the Agenda for Change fame has emerged the stronger out of the short-lived alliance that came into being via a freak act of nature.

The way-forward for him is not to lose the initiative; although Malawi’s politicians have the knack to quickly convert an asset into a liability.

The goodwill that PP attracted in April 2012 is a good case in point. Now contrast the glowing PP of April to the current PP – all over the place groping in the dark, like a ship sailing with damaged a campus. Who knows, maybe PP never had a campus after all.

To wind up, finally, the cat is out of the bag and the battle lines have been drawn. Standby for scintillating drama on the road to 2014.

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