Thousands of people in the northern region have been trooping to listen to United Democratic Front (UDF) presidential candidate Atupele Muluzi and his running mate Frank Tumpale Mwenifumbo who have been holding a series of whistle-stop campaign meetings as they unpacked their vision for Malawi.
Muluzi, who is Minister of Health in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration under President Peter Mutharika, reiterated his stance that UDF has demonstrated throughout the last five years, that as democratically elected politicians they serve the people of the country “and Malawi comes first.”
Muluzi has addressed whistle stop meetings in Rumphi, Karonga, Mzimba, Chitipa and Nkhatabay.
He said: “We have shown you that even when though I may belong to a different political party we can work with others to develop Malawi.”
Added Muluzi: “We have shown you that we can belong to different tribes and religion but still work together to develop Malawi.”
On UDF plans for the country, he reiterated that his administration will deliver “an honest and accountable government”.
He also said the UDF will build an open dialogue with all Malawians and have feedback mechanism, saying the core area that his party is focusing on are based on these three pillars; “ensuring we listen to Malawians, especially young people; being able to respond by providing the leadership; and being able to implement and demonstrate tangible results that begin to hold us leaders accountable.”
Muluzi also pledged to develop “sustainable jobs” and a living wage for a modern economy/
The UDF torchbearer said his administration will establish new centres of medical excellence as well as build new district hospitals and local health centres to support the country’s growing population.
“We will maintain free to access healthcare as part of our commitment to universal health coverage.
“We will alsoi improve teacher working conditions and increase education resources, particularly in primary schools,” he said.
Speaking in his calm tone, Muluzi said to pay for these developments, the UDF economic development strategy has two sides.
“The first is that of public sector reforms. We must achieve more with what we already have. That means government ministries and departments working more closely together to reduce duplication and create more efficiency.
“Government Ministers and Parliament will also have a greater responsibility to account for spending and to achieve greater transparency,” he said.
Muluzi, a son to former president Bakili Muluzi who governed the country from May 1994 to May 2004, said the world is changing very quickly and urged Malawians to change with it; “that includes changing what we produce and what we do with that produce to ensure we are competitive.”
He said the second part of UDF economic growth will come from diversification to more profitable crops, industrial sectors and markets.
“If we grow or make something in Malawi then we should try and maintain as much of the value chain as we can here in Malawi – don’t allow others to profit from our hard work.
“Today’s Malawi is younger than it has ever been before, there are more women than men and we are moving to live in the towns and cities in larger numbers than ever before. Our plan has been developed to support not just people today, but the growing and changing Malawi of tomorrow,” he said.
Muluzi said he is confident that UDF has both the right plan of action and the experience to deliver “a new beginning” that works for all Malawians.
“One that is supportive and not restrictive, that is inclusive and not elitist and one that develops a stronger Malawi for all our futures,” he said.
Muluzi, who has served as Cabinet minister both in the People’s Party (PP) from 2012 to 2014 and DPP from 2014 to date, said his Cabinet experience has taught him what it takes to bring change, adding that change cannot come with one person; hence, UDF is promoting inclusiveness.
He said UDF has demonstrated that it can deliver, adding that alongside his running mate Frank Mwenifumbo, a member of Alliance for Democracy (Aford), they have already initiated programmes targeted to benefit the youth and the country at large.
Muluzi said UDF has helped secure K170 billion fund that will see businesses accessing loans and also jobs being created which will in turn contribute to the development of the country.
He said even if he does not make it as Head of State, entrepreneurs will still access the funds to do businesses and employ others.
“We just demonstrate commitment that this is about Malawi. It is not about UDF, it is about putting Malawians first irrespective of political party, tribe or religion,” said Muluzi.
Muluzi and vice president Saulos Chilima, who is contesting the presidency on the ticket of the country’s newest registered political outfit UTM Party, are members of Mutharika’s Cabinet aspiring for the office of President.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :