Malawi opposition chief Tembo says Atupele was abused by PP gurus

Malawi opposition chief, John Tembo, has said governing People’s Party (PP) officials abused the son of Malawi’s ex-president Bakili Muluzi, Atupele Austin Muluzi, when they hurled insults on him at a rally held in Mangochi last Saturday prompting him to resign as economic planning minister.

A popular politician among the youth, Atupele, 34, was on October 31, 2012 elected National Chairperson of the United Democratic Front (UDF), effectively making him the party’s candidate for the 2014 presidential election.

Tembo blamed PP hierarchy for “insulting” Atupele when he was attending a special memorial service of his grandmother late Gogo Chenalikusika.  He missed the burial ceremony.

Speaking to a local radio-Joy, Tembo said he was not surprised with the foul-mouthing PP officials including Vice President Khumbo Kachali, Home Affairs Minister Uladi Mussa, lawmaker Yusuf Billiat Matumula, saying “that’s the problem of putting together goats, pigs, cattle, in same kraal.”

Tembo: Says Atupele was abused

Tembo said he arrived on Sunday from South Africa and was shocked to learn about the verbal tirade PP launched on Atupele.

“I understand the reasons for his resignations,” said Tembo at Parliament building in the capital Lilongwe on Monday.

“How did you expect Atupele to react, how did you expect Muluzi to react. That is very bad behavior,” he said.

Tembo added: “I don’t think they got that (orders to insult Atupele) from their leader, Her Excellency President Joyce Banda.”

Apparently, President Banda is said to have joined the chorus of attacks when she said that he does not even speak the local Yao dialect and “yet he wants to become president.”

Tembo, who is also Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president,advised: “Anybody who is in leadership position should behave, Umunthu. I was very annoyed with that thing.”

“You have to take note of the fact that he was abused,” said Tembo.

The veteran politician said: “The fact that [Atupele] went on government side, he went there with a good intention, to assist the government.”

Atupele said the attacks showed that some ministers “lacked the courtesy, mutual respect and dignity that is expected between colleagues.”

“As a matter of principle, I do not believe that I can continue to serve as a member of the cabinet with the honour and dignity that is a requisite for the performance of such duties.”

He is the first minister to leave Banda’s inclusive government, which was formed seven months ago with the aim of achieving economic recovery and regaining donor confidence.

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