Lawmaker Atupele Muluzi, son of former president Bakili Muluzi, stormed tobacco growing distrist of Kasungu in the central region on Saturday with his ‘agenda for change’ campaign and wooed the multitudes that thronged the venues of the rally.
“My coming here today is a great moment for me and a moment I have been anticipating and cherishing for a very long time,” said Atupele to a massive turn out, probably the best ever since multiparty democracy in Malawi.
He told the crowds that Kasungu district is “very important” because it is where founding president Kamuzu Banda came from.
The MP for Machinga North East in eastern region also told the crowd that he is also a son of the central region since his maternal home is Lilongwe.
“When I am here I feel like I am home. Maybe some of you do not know this. When you mention the name Atupele, Atupele that name was actually given to me by the Late Ngwazi Dr. H. Kamuzu Banda,” he informed the crowds.
“I am very proud of this name since it is also a great honor. The respect I have for Kamuzu leadership I would like to extend the same respect to you the people of Kasungu,” he said attracting chants of “Atu! Atu! Atu!”
“So when you see me in Kasungu, don’t bother with mentioning my name. You just have to say, Mwana wa Mudzi. And when I see you I also know that I have seen my relatives.
“And on this subject it doesn’t matter what political party we come from. A relation is a relation.”
The lawmaker pointed out that Kasungu is also a very important district in Malawi “because the main economic activity is agriculture and we know that our country is heavly dependant on Agriculture, especially tobacco.”
He sai : “This is a huge tobacco growing area together with Ntchisi and Lilongwe. 75% of our forex earnings are from tobacco.”
Said the younger Muluzi: “When we left Lilongwe this morning on our way to Kasungu we took the opportunity to chat to as many people who had converged to greet us.
“There was one thing that I noticed, even without them saying anything their facial expressions told a story. Here in kasungu, it appears that it is the same. You too have a story of how hard things are now.”
He went on: “This year has been a very difficult year for you. Tobacco prices have been extremely low, perhaps it’s lowest ever. Most of you have failed to sell your tobacco. As a result you have less money in your pockets. It is very painful. Golide wanu kuno Ku Kasungu ndi fodya.
“When you sell your tobacco, it helps in your children’s education. When the season is good at least you can afford a bicycle and even perhaps a car. Mai kachitenje panyumba a mavala. Others build beautiful homes and live happy lives.”
Atupele pointed out that in the current economically trying times, the tobacco market has been confusing and bad.
He said tobacco fFarmers are facing huge problems and tobacco tenants as well are also facing a bleak future.
“If this continues so will poverty. This is a very serious issue and should be resolved as soon as possible.”
He said sober heads need to prevail between the government and the growers
“We all know that Malawi tobacco is in great demand probably the best in the world it does not make sense that you should be getting such low prices,” he said. “Zambia next door is doing much better.”
“We need to find a solution and as you all know, 75% of Malawi’s foreign exchange earnings come from tobacco.
“Foreign exchange is very important for our economy. We use it to import various items such as fuel from abroad which this country needs. Already we are feeling the effects of having a shortage of forex. Delivery of essential goods and even coupons for this growing season is being affected,” he said.
He proposed that government should cut down on the amount of subsidised fertilizer for distribution this year.
Atupele said he was concered that the economic turmoil in the country is claiming lives of people.
“I also heard yesterday that in Kasungu this year alone 26 women have died in the programme called Uchembere Wabwino because there was no fuel to get them to hospital on time.
“This is one of the many problems that you are facing and many in the country are facing, coupled with an increasing cost of living.”
He pointed out that life is getting expensive with no medicines in hospitals, fue scarcity, lack of forex , water probems and frequent Electricity Blackouts
“Generally people are worried about the future. Traveling from Liliongwe peoples faces say a story. Here too it is evident that you too also have story,” he said/
Atupele said with all theproblems the country is facing, there is need to advance his agenda for change to resolve them.
He told the crowd that he has responded to the call by people that he cotest i 2014 presidential elections, saying “there is a need to start moving in a direction of change. “
“When we say that we want things to change there are different categories of people. There are many who agree for the need for change. There are also some of course who resist change.
“When we are asking for change, this is a very serious subject matter. Things are getting expensive and money is scarce. I know. We need to change the way we run our economy.
“However to change all this it requires all of us to work together,” he said.
“We therefore also need to change our politics,” Atupele added.
The younger Muluzi said he wants young talent to be given room in politics and leadership.
He disclosed at th rally that he will be unveiling a component of the Change Agenda programme targeting Job creation.
“ It will be launched as Building a Nation Programme and this componenet alone is aimed at creating 300,000 to 500,000 decent paying jobs within five years. There is also a programme for decent and affordable housing,” he said.
“Since unemployment is a big issue at the moment I felt it necessary to unpack a component of my agenda to stimulate debate. I would like to start an issues based campaign and so far when I interact with young they are mostly worried about unemployment and opportunities,” said Muluzi.
Atupele was accompanied by UDF members of palrimanet at the rally who included Ibrahim Matola and Clement Chiwaya.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :