Malawi needs radical change, Atupele tells north

United Democratic Front (UDF) presidential candidate Atupele Muluzi  said on Sunday when he  launched his party’s manifesto and campaign for the May 20 Tripartite Elections in the Northern Region at the Mzuzu upper stadium that he was ready to deliver radical change once voted into office and confidently declared that he was ready to govern and serve as Malawi’s Head of State.

The UDF leader began his speech with his now catchy trademark phrase “Dzuka, Malawi, Dzuka” to which the crowd responded with an emphatic “Dzuka!”. This was in direct reference to 50 years of independence when Malawians were told ” kwacha” but were not told to get up.

Atupele – who resigned after briefly serving in President Joyce Banda’s first Cabinet appointed in April 2012, thanked the crowds for their support of the Agenda co Change.

Atupele speaking in Mzuzu: Dzuka, Malawi, Dzuka!

Atupele speaking in Mzuzu: Dzuka, Malawi, Dzuka!

Crowds listening to Atupele at Mzuzu upper stadium

Crowds listening to Atupele at Mzuzu upper stadium

Throngs of UDF supporters at Mzuzu upper stadium

Throngs of UDF supporters at Mzuzu upper stadium

UDF campgain truck in Mzuzu

UDF campgain truck in Mzuzu

Atupele and his runningmate Chapola in Mzuzu

Atupele and his runningmate Chapola in Mzuzu

“Since we launched it almost three years ago it is now taking shape in Malawi. Now everyone is speaking of transformational change, issue- based politics and business unusual. The only difference is that I mean it because we are now in the digital age and Malawi needs to move with the times,” he said.

He further stated that the elections in May will represent Generational Change, Political Change and Economic Change.

“A new generation of leaders is taking over in May. I represent the transition to a new generation of leaders in Malawi. A new beginning and a fresh start,” he retorted.

The UDF leader stated that Malawi would be facing an economic crisis if the current administration continued to govern.

“You have all heard that the government is preparing a Zero Deficit budget due to the suspension of budgetary support. We all know what hardships were inflicted on Malawians as a result. We need to take a new direction and immediately restore confidence in the Malawi economy,” he said.
Atupele pledged that once elected to office he will immediately appoint external auditors to support government auditing and restore credibility and resumption of budget support.

“Dr. Godfrey Chapola (Atupele’s running mate) and I met the visiting IMF team from Washington and key donors to assure them of the same,” the UDF leader informed the crowds.

Further pledges included, a technocratic and lean cabinet, reduction of internal and external travel by President, Vice President and Cabinet Ministers. Maintain fiscal and monetary discipline, eliminate costly practices and waste amongst others.

He also pledged that within the first 90 days he  will bring to passing into law the Access to Information Bill and an Economic Empowerment Bill that will stipulate that any new foreign investor coming to Malawi should provide up to 30% share holding to local Malawians especially, women and the youth.

Atupele further pledged that he would sign the Table Mountain agreement in order to safeguard media freedom.

He received a resounding applause when he pledged to eliminate the quota system for higher education once elected to office.

“I want to promise you, that as President, I will not allow the quota system to continue. It is discriminatory and archaic,” he stated.

Atupele  pledged that in the alternative he would ensure that he expands the fascilities at the University Instititutions and where appropriate construct new campuses and Instititutions.

The highlight of the meeting came when the UDF leader spoke passionately about the problems being experienced in the health sector.

” I was ashamed to read this morning newspapers that doctors at Queen Elizabeth Central Hispital are having to pay for essential medicines from their own pocket because government is broke due to misuse, theft and abuse of resources. I believe it is the same at Kamuzu central Hospital and Mzuzu Central Hospital”.

The UDF leader then announced that he would be suspending a meeting in his campaign to donate the funds to the three hospitals to raise awareness that Malawians of goodwill must contribute.
He then presented three c heques of 1 Million Kwacha each be donated to Mzuzu Central Hospital, Kamuzu Central and Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital respectively.

The UDF leader spoke about what he would do in other sectors in health, Energy, Education, jobs, Sports, public security and access to justice

The UDF leader also explained to Malawians what he means when he says that the next UDF administration will focus on ensuring that Malawians have “money in their pockets and food security”.

He stated that this was part of his inclusive growth agenda because as the economy has been growing over the years, very few Malawians have benefitted, saying ” the poor have been getting poorer and the rich have been getting richer.”

He further stated that the means of achieving that will be on job creation and entrepreneurship. He also stated that governance features highly in his agenda, especial public financial management, procurement and auditing.

The UDF leader also took time to explain that as he will work to stabilize and grow the economy, his administration will also protect its poor and vulnerable by rolling out an upscale d cash transfer program for the elderly and disadvantaged.

“It has received the backing of the World Bank and key donors and it can also be financed from our existing resource envelope”.

On agriculture he also took time to explain his party’s plan to roll out a Universal Subsidy program and that Chapola, an experienced agriculturist will oversee its implementation once in government.

UDF director of economic affairs Victor Mbewe, a former governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM), said the economy is in bad shape because of withdrawal of budget support by donors as well as poor management.

Apart from Atupele and Mbewe, others that spoke about the manifesto included national executive committee (NEC) member Kholiwe Mkandawire, who will represent the party in Mzimba Solola Constituency.

UDF veterans, notably, Rev. Prof Sibande, Phillip Banda and Rev. Dr. Mazunda who came to shore up support for the UDF leader.

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