United Democratic Front (UDF) presidential candidate Atupele Muluzi has launched his campaign for May 20 elections and also unveiled the electoral pact in a form of a manifesto to fight huge income inequality.
Atupele kicked off the campaign at the famous Njamba Freedom Park in the commericial city of Blantyre on Sunday before a record crowd.
In his speech, Atupele , the youngest candidate in the presidential race and while pointing out that he cannot fail to govern the country because he is a “baby” as other sectors of society have suggested.
“A lot has been said about me saying I am a baby, but as we start the campaign journey today, I want to tell not only the nation but the whole world that I am ready to govern Malawi and come 21May the baby will be President of this country,” the 35-year-old Atupele said.
He underlined the point by referring to his running mate experienced agriculturist Dr Godfrey Chapola as vice president and his wife Angella as First Lady.
In the UDF manifesto, Atupele, son to former president Bakili Muluzi, said he would like to empower Malawians so that they become self-reliant economically not depending on handouts.
“When people have money in their pockets they can buy anything for themselves unlike the current trend whereby people are given handouts in form of [rotten] flour,” Atupele said.
Atupele said the new UDF party has studied the country’s ailing economy “comprehensively” and they know what is wrong with it.
He said the UDF would turn Malawi economy around, saying other parties have run out of ideas as “they belong to the past, we represent the future.”
Outlining the party’s manifesto, Muluzi said UDF centers mainly on economic transformation, food security, creation of jobs for the youth, national security and education
The UDF leader said his Agenda For Change is what Malawians needs to ensure change of policy, economic change as well as economic freedom.
“The country needs change in leadership and policies to bring about economic change and economic freedom. The people of Malawi are languishing in poverty and it’s only a few greedy individuals living in glory.
“There’s need for change and that change is coming with UDF. I will make sure that every Malawian has money in their pockets and can afford basic needs,” he said, while observing that economic empowerment will get rid of dependency in handouts.
He however promised that his government will set aside a special fund for the most vulnerable such as the elderly, the disabled, the sick and children.
Atupele said his government will ensure “combatting inequality” be a priority in economic change agenda.
He also promised that his party would put in place issue-based campaign and not engage in smear campaign, which has characteristic of previous campaigns.
Atupele also promised that when voted into power, his leadership will ensure transparency and accountability in government business. He cited an example of the “jetgate” where the current administration is giving different stories on how funds realized from the sales of the presidential jet were used.
On the same, the UDF torch bearer said his government will empower the country’s graft busting body, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) as well as the Police Service to work independently and professional.
He also tackled safe water, electricity and health issues where he promised that a new referral hospital in Blantyre.
“I was at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital few days ago and the situation is very sad. People sleeping on the floor and more than two people sharing a bed, this is really pathetic that is why once I take over I will build a new hospital in Blantyre,” Atupele said.
On agriculture, he said his government will abolish the coupons system and instead introduce universal subsidy.
He said his party is determined to transform the country’s agricultural sector, which is why he picked 64-year-old agriculturalist Godfrey Chapola as his running-mate for the May 20 polls.
UDF becomes the second party to unveil its manifesto after President Joyce Banda’s People’s Party launched its manifesto in February.
Speaking earlier UDF Secretary General Kandie Padambo said the odds were favouring the party to win the elections.
“People should not forgot that we have never lost an election as UDF,” Padambo said.
The campaign and manifesto launch followed Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) declared the start of official campaign on March 21 after the dissolution of National Assembly.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :