Atupele eligible to run for Malawi presidency, turns 35 in August –Patel

The United Democratic Front (UDF) national organising secretary, Lillian Patel, has dismissed claims by ruling People’s Party that Atupele Muluzi, the UDF president, is ineligible to rule because he is immature and that the country is not a monarchy since his father, Bakili Muluzi, already ruled the country from 1994 to 2004.

The Republican Constitution prescribes 35 years and above as the required age to become President of the Republic.

Ruling People’s Party (PP) officials, especially Uladi Mussa on Sunday questioned Atupele’s ambition to contest for presidency against President Joyce Banda, saying the young Muluzi is “immature” to be the country’s president.

Nyasa Times recently also exposed a secret PP meeting at Kampala’s Lodge in Mangochi discussed a plot to block Atupele from running for presidency next year with lawmaker Yusuf Matumula proposing that they should challenge Atupele that he cannot run for presidency on pretext that he would not have attained the 35-years constitutional requirement when the country goes to polls around May next year.

Atupele speaks to the crowds: Change agenda
Atupele speaks to the crowds: Change agenda

But Patel said Atupele is eligible to contests.

“He will be turning 35, the constitutional age, this August; he has been voted as a parliamentarian twice and he once served as a minister, is that person a toddler?”

Patel explained that Atupele was born 6th August 1978 at Kamuzu Central Hospital.

She pointed out that Atupele has stood for parliamentary elections twice for Machinga North East and has had the same details of birth date on records.

On the issue of dynasty, Patel a former foreign affairs minister said Atupele is not inheriting power from his father but will be contesting like everybody else. She said Atupele is not going to be the first son of a former president to be at the helm of the country in Africa and beyond.

“There is Joseph Kabila in Democratic Republic of Congo, Ian Khama of Botswana and Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, all these are presidents today and their fathers once ruled their respective countries,” said Patel.

Patel reiterated that UDF does not take pleasure in politics of hatred and castigation, observing that such type of politics is detrimental to democracy and the country as the whole.

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