Malawi ex-leader Bakili Muluzi back campaign for son Atupele

As political campaign for the May 20, 2014 tripartite elections heats up, Bakili Muluzi, retired President and father to one of the aspiring presidential candidates, Atupele Muluzi, is expected to hit the campaign trail himself, bidding for the son but meanwhile is said to canvassing support from his retirement home.

UDF members told Nyasa Times that Muluzi senior has at BCA Hill Residence in Blantyre lately held numerous meetings with civil society leaders, vendors, members of the clergy, foreign diplomats and other ‘influential’ groups where the core objective has been to canvass support for the son, who is 35 years old.

Bakili Muluzi’s ‘retiring’ from political retirement comes as no surprise as all along, political as well as social pundits, have insisted that the son’s attempt at the country’s presidency is at the instigation of the father, who ruled the country for 10 years.

Bakili Muluzi hosting UDF members at his BCA Hill

Bakili Muluzi hosting UDF members at his BCA Hill

The former president  is likely to hit the podium in the middle of campaign, according to UDF source.

Bakili Muluzi was the President of Malawi from 1994 to 2004 and was Chairman of the United Democratic Front (UDF) until 2009.

He had succeeded Hastings Kamuzu Banda as President. He also served in Banda’s cabinet as Minister without Portfolio before retiring in 1980.

In 2002, while President, Bakili Muluzi, proposed an amendment to Malawi’s constitution that would have allowed him to run for a third term, but this was abandoned due to the move being blocked by the National Assembly of Malawi Members of Parliament, courts, and demonstrations against the bid.

In 2007, Muluzi announced he wanted to bounce back as President and that he would run for President in 2009.

Muluzi ‘s  interest to run again had raised some controversy. On March 20, 2009 the Malawi Electoral Commission passed barred Muluzi from running for the presidency for the third time. He challenged this, but the Constitutional Court ruled that Muluzi could not run again.

Atupele critics feel  Muluzi senior is doing the bidding on behalf of the son so that if he win he “will rule Malawi by proxy.”

The former President met last week at his BCA Hill Residence Mangochi business leaders, including vendors. The ‘delegation’ was led by former Mangochi Central MP, Dr. Clement Chiwaya.

But UDF spokesman Ken Ndanga said  he saw nothing wrong for Muluzi senior to help his son in the presidential bid.

“The UDF and Atupele campaign is being run by a team of the party. But if Bakili Muluzi decided to help his son, he is most welcome because we need support from veterans such as the former president and former members who have started to come back to back the party like former Attorney General Peter Fatchi and former minister Ziliro Chibambo,”he said.

He added that ”Muluzi is not the only parent backing a son for political office in this year’s election. There are other is in PP and even DPP.”

Atupele, known as a child of privilege who has grown up in the presidential palace, took his campaign in Mangochi on Wednesday where he drew excited throngs as the Eastern Region is considered to be UDF stronghold.

Eastern Region has a larger number of Muslims. Muluzi was Malawi’s first and only Muslim President, so far.

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