A troubled political story of Atupele: Malawi’s young political crusader

Austin Atupele Muluzi’s political journey appears to be turning and turning in the widening spiral of infancy.

Atupele:  President Peter Mutharika’s running mate
DPP-UDF Alliance: Atupele Muluzi and President Peter Mutharika
Atupele with US First Lady Melania Trump
Atupele Muluzi representing Malawi government at World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.
Atupele having a conversation with a villager
Atupele Muluzi and President Peter Mutharika: Together as one in transformation leadership
Atupele having a talk with an old woman
Youth leadership: Atupele Muluzi with Inkosi Gomani
Atupele Muluzi greeting Bishop Msusa before presenting a gift
Atupele with Graca Marchel.

He entered the political stage in 2004 as a member of parliament and, being in his mid-20s, Atupele wasn’t quite received as a man on his own.

Even worse, his father, former President Bakili Muluzi, jokingly called him ‘bebe’ [baby] during the 2014 campaign trail.

From that joke, unfortunately, Atupele was tagged a political ‘bebe’ running political errand of his father—a tag he has been identified with since.

Then in his own famed ‘Agenda for Change’, Atupele was branded ‘Ung’onoung’ono’ or ‘Ukiti-ukiti’ as youthful presidential hopeful who had just reached the mark of 35 years, the eligible age to contest for presidency.

Today, with DPP-UDF alliance, Atupele is no longer being identified as a political ‘bebe’.  He has now joined the fray of ‘Ana a Dad’ [Dad’s child]—a tag which every supporter of President Peter Mutharika gets identified with.

Arguably, Atupele’s transition from the tag ‘bebe’ to ‘Ana a Dad’ is a curious political tale that, to a greater extent, presupposes that his political journey appear to be revolving around childhood stage.

But is it justifiable to indict Atupele’s political journey as one trapped in its infancy?

Truth be told, Atupele’s 15 year political journey [2004 to 2019] has been a tale of struggles between of two opposing forces.

One, as son of former president Muluzi, Atupele has had to act in a way that shields and protects his father at all costs against every rising political tide.

And secondly, despite being Muluzi’s son, Atupele has had to face the public and prove that he is a man of his own, ready and eager to write his own story.

So, on one hand there is your father who needs your protection; and, on the other, there is your individual political ambition which, handled carelessly, it would hurt and destroy your father and your family.

How do you handle that?

Balancing the two hasn’t been easy for Atupele. However, truth be told, the young Muluzi hasn’t messed up.

In the past 15 years or so, Atupele has been a symbol of rare political civility. He has, always, displayed characters of political calmness and tolerance. These are attributes that every Malawian of goodwill wants to see in our politicians.

He can be slewed, of course, for failing to revamp UDF to its former greatness. Quite true.

However, judging from the energy he is spewing campaigning for DPP-UDF Alliance, it is without mention that UDF, with Atupele, is not in wrong hands.

Whichever side the pending fresh elections will go, Atupele needs to reject the ‘bebe’ and ‘Ana a Dad’ tags because they do not represent the truest nature of who he has become.

If DPP-UDF Alliance retains government, that is great for Atupele because he will use the vice-presidency to consolidate not just his grip on power but also to build UDF. If they lose, it will, again, be a silver lining for Atupele to use the energy he has  to start growing the party from the grassroots.

Atupele has a political moment, not elections, to lose. He has become a main center of focus during this campaign and this is the time he must harness and show Malawians that they must look out for him.

No more ‘Bebe’, no more ‘Ana a Dad’. Atupele  is his own man, fighting his battles.

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Jenala Eid
Jenala Eid
3 years ago

Atupele is the man. Udf is still alive and strong. The alliance of DPP UDF
is the only alliance that will bring change and prosperity in our beloved
peaceful Malawi.

This isn’t time to waste with the opposition. The current regime is indeed transparent.
Nsabwe zotsutsazi zikungofuna kutitayitsa nthawi ya chitukuko muno mMalawi.

3 years ago

Atupele is a joke. He’s achieved nothing worthy by his own merit. He was just given the UDF position because of his surname. Nobody takes him seriously. Come on Malawians, we can do better than this nonsense.

Hastings Chulu
3 years ago

Most pipo attack Atupele out of jealous. Jealous that he is the son of the former president and started his politics way as a young boy. Jealous that Atupele is only 41 years old but making a lot of political impact. Jealous will never save Malawi

Madando Tippex
Madando Tippex
3 years ago

YYou have not mentioned that Thengo Maloya was appointed Minister for Lands, Housing and Physical Planning by Bakili Muluzi after he had accepted to surrender his position as an elected member of parliament to Atupele Muluzi. No wonder that Atupele can’t be elected as an MP on his own.

3 years ago

Useless Atupele…….

President Chisokonezo
President Chisokonezo
3 years ago

IBakili adagulitsa ma company onse anali mdziko muno. Ndalamayo asadya yekha

3 years ago

Cry for the beloved chikangawa forest in mzimba was so beautiful and amazing😪💔😢 inamangidwa mwaluso ndo ngwazi ndinsoukadaulo ukamadutsa chikangawa forest kupasa kaso Kuti dziko la mkaka ndi uchi ndilo ili achinyamata mawanja ankapeza ntchito kumeneko , kalanga Ife kudza kwa abakili UDF kalangaife chuma chochipeza osachivutikila chikangawa forest ndi mbiri chabe . Abakili muluzi anagulitsa. Matabwa nkhuni zikusowa mu mzinda wa mzzu. No vote for DPP UDF ngosakaza chuma cha malawife.

President Chisokonezo
President Chisokonezo
3 years ago

Please remove crusade as it doesn’t go well with Muslims like A tupele. But to me Atupele is childish.How can you talk of iPhones and computer to illiterate men and women?

3 years ago

A man sent to do politics to shield his crooked father can not rise above level. believe you me, the day the will announce that Tonse alliance has carried the day, he will rush there , so that he can be considered for a position to continue shielding his father.

3 years ago

Very good article.

Dpp founders veterans
3 years ago

Bakili watuma mwana kudzaba dpp back to udf. Voting Atupele is at owners risk. Chauta watsala pang’ono kumuyitana APM back to soil. Just a few days to go for agogo. Even Bakili miyendo look very weak. He just wants to see dpp dead. He will die a happy man after taking back dpp to udf. Bakili used to say chubu ichi anapopa yekha ndipo adzapwetsa yekha. Aphwetsadi yekha amangwetu.

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