Atupele gets thunderous welcome at UDF convention

United Democratic Front (UDF) on Tuesday proven its alive and kicking as witnessed by the thousands of supporters who have converged for its national convention at Comesa hall in Blantyre.

It was tough for people to get an entry into the Chichiri Trade Fair ground campus as well as into the Comesa hall as the whole place was swarmed by UDF supporters from all regions, North, Centre, Eastern and South.

Dressed in party colours of yellow, the supporters turned up for the convention to vote for their favourite party officials into its national governing council.

While delegates to the convention included UDF officials from Zambia and South Africa in attendance, there was also was DPP, MCP, Aford, PPM and PP officials. Notable faces were Kamlepo Kalua, Gwanda Chakuamba, Zikhale Ng’oma and Patrick Mbewe among others.

Atupele Muluzi arrives at the convention.-Photo by Jeromy Kadewere/Nyasa Times

However, the man of the day seemed to be Atupele Muluzi who was given a thunderous welcome at the venue comparing to other party members vying for positions.

Atupele who arrived at the venue by 10:25 on personal vehicle, he was greeted with wild cheers and praises by ecstatic thousands of UDF supporters with many rushing to shake a hand with him.

Inside the conference hall it was a wave of excitement as young Muluzi entered, the whole attendance rose to its feet, clapping hands in ululation, expressing its support to the young man vying for the post of UDF chairmanship once held by his father former president Bakili Muluzi.

It will be questionable if Atupele fails to clinch the position comparing to the support his fellow contestants got from the crowd. One of them was Moses Dosi who failed to pull a crowd when he arrived at the convention, raising questions if at all he has support.

In her opening remarks, chairperson for the organising committee, Lilian Patel disclosed that 2364 people were expected to cast their votes during the convention in nominating NGC members.

‘Put people first’

Patel said the party has elected an independent election commission to oversee the voting process and that the convention’s main them was “Put People First, UDF’s Agenda.”

“The theme calls for those elected in position to put people first. It’s a trend in Malawi where once one in elected into power, they start putting themselves above those who voted them. But as UDF we are urging those to elected to start putting people first because those are the ones that matters in everything,” Patel said.

Lawyer Kalekeni Kaphale read a speech on behalf of UDF former chairman, Bakili Muluzi currently receiving medical treatment in South Africa.

In the speech, Muluzi urged the party to give chance to the youth and women to run the affairs of the party as one way of building and strengthening the party.

He said the party needs to open up to new members and new ideas if it is to win in the next general elections.

The convention is still in progress and Nyasa Times is covering every detail of the proceedings and will keep on updating on every upcoming developments.

UDF will be a second party to hold a convention this year after President Joyce Banda’s Peoples Party (PP) that held its convention some months ago at College of Medicine complex hall in Blantyre.

UDF national conference at Comesa hall in Blantyre; Yellow! yellow! yellow!.-Photo by Jeromy Kadewere/Nyasa Times
UDF supporters lined up to welcome Atupele Muluzi.-Photo by Jeromy Kadewere/Nyasa Times

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