United Democratic Front (UDF) presidential candidate Atupele Austin Muluzi and his running mate Dr Godfrey Chapola on Wednesday presented their nomination papers to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) officials in style after rolling the business in the commercial hub, Blantyre on standstill with thousands of supporters on the second day of the exercise at the Chichiri International Conference Centre, popularly known as Comesa Hall, in Blantyre.
Speaking after submitting his papers and receiving a candidacy certificate from MEC chairperson Supreme Court Judge Maxon Mbendera, Atupele said May 20 tripartite elections to take place during the 50 year tenure of Malawi independence celebrations signify a fundamental milestone for the southern African country and its people.
“Malawians go to the polls with deep reflections, great expectations and an impatience around their future,” he said
The Comesa Hall was filled with people wearing party yellow cloth and thousands others with the youth in majority were outside the Hall and lined up in the streets of Blantyre.
The 35-year-old Atupele, accompanied by his wife Angela and notable UDF personalities was welcomed by songs that likened him to United State president Barack Obama.
The UDF torch bearer said the May 20 elections are “a game-changer”, saying “they mark our transition into the next generation; an era of ‘business unusual’, where the transformation of our economy and society needs to happen with a sense urgency, focus and commitment. Malawians must and should speak through the ballot box.”
Atupele said getting Malawi transformation process right will need a new generation of leaders.
“Malawians understand their problems and they know the solutions. What they need are leaders that can deliver. Leaders who are willing to listen, not just to those that they identify with, but with every Malawian, across the urban and rural strata including the disadvantaged, such as the youth, women, disabled,” said Atupele in a cool tone.
He said the new generation of leaders “must be able to master the discipline to deliver on their promises, demonstrate results and be held accountable to their commitments. They must understand that their duty is to serve Malawi, and not to be served by it.”
Atupele stressed that Malawi is facing “extraordinary times” saying. “Whilst we carry with us a legacy of challenges, this new era also brings us tremendous opportunities. “
He said: “We are in a position to shape and lead our destiny. But this must be done now. I am proud to be Malawian. I am proud to serve Malawi.”
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