United Democratic Front (UDF) 2014 presidential hopeful, Atupele Austin (AA) Muluzi received a super reception in the capital Lilongwe on Sunday when he took his new Agenda for Change message with two meetings at Chinsapo and Area 25.
Atupele, 34, first held a stop-over at Chinsapo before addressing tens of thousands of supporters who were packed at Area 25.
The youthful presidential hopeful condemned what he called “political prostitutes” who keep moving from ruling party to another with little regard for the people.
“How do we bring about change or do things differently if the mindset is the same? We need a different type of mindset altogether if things in Malawi must change,” said AA Muluzi.
He said: “We need to inject a new talent into our politics. It is my generation that must now drive that change in this country.”
AA Muluzi appealed to young and old with transformative ideas, fresh and new ideas to come forward to take leadership positions.
“This is your time. Let us work together. I am making this calling to you. This is the time to come forward.”
The UDF president commented on civil servants who have ended a two-week old strike after government bowed to their demands to raise their salaries by 61 percent for lowest paid staff.
“We are grateful to government for increasing civil servants pay,” he said.
“However it would be important for government to adjust the income tax bracket especially for those on a low income,” appealed Muluzi, who is also Machinga North East parliamentarian.
The civil servants say last May’s 49 per cent devaluation of the Malawi currency, the kwacha, has eaten into their buying power.
The son to former president Bakili Muluzi, who resigned as Minister of Economic Planning in Joyce Banda’s government last year, also took time to dwell on economic issues.
He noted that businesses are suffering under the current prevailing high interest rates, which he said are not conducive for the growth of businesses and economy.
“Often times we have heard the cliché phrase that ‘private sector is the engine of growth’. I would like to propose that our government immediately begins to equip and support our entrepreneurs and businesses to compete on a global platform and in order for them to create much needed jobs for our school leavers and young people,” he said.
Atupele suggested that government should reduce the heavy borrowing that is crowding out private sector growth.
“The resultant base lending rates upwards of 35% per annum currently prevailing in the country’s banking sector are not conducive for the private sector,” he pointed out.
He also called on government to liberalize the power generation sector to increase power and bring down the cost of production.
“In particular, by ensuring the availability of cheap and reliable power for the manufacturing sector,” he said.
Atupele also said the country needs to reinvest in trade and technical schools to support industries with the appropriate human resources.
“The manufacturing sector needs to besupported with the appropriate technology and skilled labour force to enhance and maintain the competitiveness in the long term. This will also enable the youth toparticipate in building a robust and competitive economy for future generations,” said the UDF leader.
Atupele also said Malawi need to actively attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) be establishing clear incentives for investors and eliminating bureaucratic red tape and corruption.
UDF president said Malawi should improve on governance in order to ensure that people get the public good and services they require.
“We need to encourage a debate on what we can do to enhance governance and empower our people.
“However despite that we also know that there are people who cannot and are not economically active due to age or deformity. We need to have a discussion on how we can deliver on effective social protection programms.”
Atupele told the crowds that UDF has organized a National Policy Conference in April, a first for a political party in Malawi, to confer with Malawians on some of its policy proposals.
“The area of focus for that conference will be delivering on a new agenda for change,” he said.
“Our core focus is on four areas; delivering on inclusive growth; governance; social protection and the fourth is peace and security.”
He added:“We need to deliver on inclusive growth for Malawians with a special focus on job creation. The building blocks for growth are important such as education, health, infrastructure and energy. We must revamp our agriculture sector and bring about civil service reforms.”
Atupele, who has been attracting huge gatherings at his political rallies, told the cheering crowds that he intends to bring hope to Malawians, drawing the football analogy that he is a skipper of the winning team.
UDF secretary-general Kandi Padambo maintained that Atupele is the “real deal” for Malawi.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :