United Democratic Front (UDF) presidential candidate, Atupele Muluzi, has called for a major change of direction in the management of the economy, saying if the party is voted into office during the May 20 Tripartite Elections he will bail out Malawians from the current economic hardships.
Atupele made the remarks on Thursday during whistle-stop tours in the northern border district of Karonga. He is in the North where he is holding a series of whistle-stop tours.
The UDF torchbearer positioned himself as the champion of voters who feel exploited by politicians interested in self-enrichment, setting out a policy platform that included fiscal discipline, entrepreneurship and agriculture to resurrect the ailing economy.
“This fight is about economic change,” Atupele, 35 who resigned from Joyce Banda administration as Economic Planning Minister on principal, said.
“We attained independence from our colonial masters in 1964 and political freedom in 1994 however our people have still not attained economic freedom,” said Atupele to the cheering supporters who had waited to have a glimpse of the UDF Leader.
He told crowds that political leaders take pride in parading Malawi as a poor country when in fact it has huge resources that are not being managed properly.
“The problem is not very much a lack of resources but rather how these resources are prioritized and used,” he said.
“The biggest problem is that we have developed a culture that says it is ok for the privileged few in power to abuse State resources at the expense of ordinary Malawians and this goes unpunished,” Atupele said as the crowds responded “cashgate! Cashgate!”
He said that is the very reason some political leaders can change parties at a blink of an eye lid and warned that such politicians have no space in the next UDF administration.
“We must stop recycling [cashgate] politicians from one ruling party to another,” he said.
Atupele warned that Malawians must begin to examine the people that surround a President because some politicians have only been there to confuse our leaders.
The UDF leader said that the battle he is fighting is not about himself as a political leader but that there must be economic change in Malawi.
He stated that there are three priorities under the change agenda which are; Creating Decent Work and Wealth for Malawians; Protecting the poor and Vulnerable ; Make the public purse work for Malawians.
“Our Manifesto which will be out soon will explain how we intend to do the things we intend to do mindful of the fact that we will probably be inheriting an economy in a mess come May. ”
Atupele said that he has a deep passion for the youth and that is why he has come up with a jobs plan a strategy document which will be launched together with the manifesto.
The UDF leader told the gatherings that in order to attract private sector development once elected to office he would ensure that he restores the public trust and confidence in the economy as well as create an enabling environment for private sector development.
He also stated that under his administration he would ensure that he removes secrecy in the manner public funds are organized.
“Malawians have a right to know where every kwacha is being spent and to ensure it is being spent correctly,” he said, adding “there needs to be a change of direction on some of the key issues. The cost-of-living crisis is the single greatest challenge our country faces.”
Atupele also said “the people of Karonga must know where their money from Uranium is being spent”.
The UDF leaders said Malawians face a choice about how they want to fight the May election optimistic about Malawi and its future or pessimistic, saying his candidature is tipping the balance towards hope.
He stressed: “The next UDF government will act. Malawi can do better.”
Snap reaction to the speech showed people were pleased with Atupele for being issue-based in his political meetings.
“It was an incredibly good speech. There were some important boxes ticked,” said Solomon Mwakaswaya who described himself as a floating voter.
“He raises issues other than personal attacks, which is a breath of fresh air,” Makaswaya added.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :