Lucius Banda back in UDF NEC: Chapola, Dossi, Kachere co-opted

Malawian number one musician Lucius Banda, the self-styled ‘soldier of the Poor Man’, has been co-opted into the national executive council (NEC) for the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF).

UDF NEC meeting Saturday in Blantyre for the first time since the convention on October 31 appointed 16 ordinary members into the NEC.

They included musician Banda, famous for hard-hitting songs since the one-party regime of Hastings Kamuzu Banda, through Bakili Muluzi to Bingu wa Mutharika.

Banda, 42, served in the former ruling UDF and held various portfolios before quitting the party saying he wanted to concentrate on his music career. He was also special aide to former president Bakili Muluzi in the run to the 2009 polls.

Lucius Banda: UDF all the way

His previous Life album courted controversy as it tore the Mutharika regime to pieces over its poor economic policies and bad governance. This resulted in state owned broadcaster banning his music.

After Mutharika’s death in April, Lucius publicly announced he had joined People’s Party of President Banda but later slowed down and reportedly withdrew his membership.

Others co-opted included were former sports minister Moses Dossi , former secretary general Kennedy Makwangwala, Rob Jameison, former Escom’s human resources director Ruth Takomana, youthful entrepreneur Smolet Kachere and former General Manager of the statutory Tobacco Control Commission’s (TCC)  Dr Godfrey Chapola .

The new UDF NEC was welcomed on Sunday when the party painted Blantyre City yellow, yellow and yellow  with a surprising enormous turnout during a rally at Njamba Freedom Park where its leader Atupele Muluzi expressed confidence of leading the party back to the centre ground of Malawi politics.

The crowd largely draped in party colours of yellow braved the afternoon’s rain scare to patronise the rally.

Atupele factor

During the rally, the party announced an amendment to its constitution by NEC on Saturday where it scrapped the title of party’s national chairman and replaced it with the title of the president.

Following the amendment, the party’s newly chairman, Atupele automatically become its president for the next five years running and UDF’s torchbearer in 2014 General Elections.

Speaking during the rally, while avoiding to publicly commenting of his resignation from President Joyce Banda’s cabinet, the young Muluzi emphasised on the need for change on how the country’s politics is run.

Muluzi assured the nation that UDF will take over the country’s leadership come 2014, adding the new dawn for changed politics, new agenda for the country’s development has come.

“Today, a new generation has taken over the leadership and we promise to serve you based on your interest. We want changed politics, new things, new strategies  and new crop of leadership. I am not backtracking from my idea of change. This is all about Malawians not an individual gain,” said Atupele.

The party held a convention in Blantyre on October 30 2012 where most positions were taken by new comers including the post of secretary general which was won by former Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi (Escom) chief executive officer Kandi Padambo.

“The era of old politics is gone. Politics of insulting others, politics of conflict between parties is gone. UDF will be a movement for change. If there is somebody who thought UDF is dead, should wait until 2014,” young Muluzi said beaming with confidence.

UDF ruled Malawi from 1994 to 2004 under Muluzi and from 2004 to early 2005 with Bingu wa Mutharika, who was handpicked by Muluzi and ditched the party to form the DPP.

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