United Democratic Front (UDF) presidential candidate Atupele Muluzi says it is disheartening that after 50 years of independence the majority of Malawians still expect handouts of maize, cattle, chickens, motorcycles and other things.
“This year Malawi will be celebrating its golden jubilee and 20 years as multiparty democracy. However, is this Malawi we fought for so that its people should depend on handouts?” queried Atupele during whistle stop tours he conducted at Phwezi Trading Centre, Mhuju, Ng’onga and Rumphi Boma on Monday.
He likened the malaise to slavery saying successive governments after 1964 deliberately implemented policies that made Malawians poorer so that they become susceptible to handouts.
“When they bring these handouts accept them and ask for more. But you will realise that nothing more will be forthcoming,” he said.
His father, former President Bakili Muluzi, ruled Malawi from the dawn of multipartysm in 1994 to 2004 and was also known for handouts. But Atupele argued that the new UDF is now a transformed party.
At all the venues, people braved some showers and the cold weather waiting for Atupele who started the rallies with his trademark mantra of “Dzuka, Malawi Dzuka!” and received chants of “Obama wa chiMalawi”.
“Malawi is yet to enjoy economic freedom. To date only a few enjoy. If people had disposable incomes, they would not wait for someone to give them things. They will simply buy whatever they want,” he said.
Atupele said the UDF government would pursue a policy of inclusive growth as a vehicle for championing economic independence and freedom.
“Our goal is for Malawians to have food and incomes. And for some groups the UDF government will implement a social protection programme so that such people will get something every month,” Atupele said.
He said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have already agreed to bankroll the social protection project.
The UDF torch bearer also told the people that the IMF, World Bank and other donors told UDF that they would not assist Malawi if the current government continues to rule Malawi.
“They said Malawi will return to the zero deficit budget. They are concerned with the massive pilferage of government resources and they have put their foot down,” he said.
To enhance transparency and accountability, Atupele said his government would ensure devolution of power.
“We will create regional ministers because we do not want power to be vested in an individual. There is no need for people of Rumphi to travel to Mzuzu for passports, driving licences and other essential things. These services must be at Rumphi Boma or district level. That’s the hallmark of power sharing,” he said.
Atupele said the country is better off focusing on agriculture and developing its natural resources.
UDF party has since pledged to revamp the agricultural sector, which he emphasised will remain the country’s economic backbone for years to come.
Among others, Atupele said his party will phase out the national targeted input subsidy programme and will be replace it with universal fertiliser scheme. He argued the former has only managed to spread anger and poverty across the social structures.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :