Austin Atupele Muluzi, son to former Malawi President Bakili Muluzi, says he will do all he can to rebuild the United Democratic Front (UDF) party in readiness for the 2014 elections.
The young Muluzi was speaking in the early hours of Wednesday in his maiden address to UDF delegates gathered at Comesa hall in Blantyre as the party’s national chairman and 2014 presidential candidate.
In his acceptance speech, Muluzi said he will help to rebuild the party into a strong movement that will spearhead the transformation of the country and its citizens.
Muluzi, who is currently Minister of Economic Planing and Development in President Joyce Banda’s inclusive government, amassed 2,308 votes while his opponents Moses Dossi and Ruth Takomana got 23 votes and 3 votes respectively.
“I want to thank my fellow candidates and friends, namely Hon. Moses Dossi and Hon. Mai Ruth Takomana. I am aware that this is Hon. Dossi’s third attempt. We are all praying that one day he will be standing here making an acceptance speech,” said Muluzi.
He said he is determined to work with all to help the UDF regain the trust of the people of Malawi.
“My duty as your leader will be to heal all our disagreements for the greater good of the unity of our party. My heartfelt gratitude goes to all the many gallant men and women of the United Democratic Front who have stood by our movement in both good and bad times,” he said.
“As you know, I traveled many miles and visited many places this year in preparation for seeking the nomination to lead our party. My journey has been challenging but extremely enriching. I have walked paths that have enabled me to understand what any leader should strive to understand; that is: the needs and aspirations of his or her fellow citizens-Malawians,” said Muluzi.
He said Malawi needs leaders that can deliver on :
- Operating political systems which provide opportunities for all people;
- Macro-economic stability and facilitating private sector investment and trade;
- Implementing pro-poor policy to raise, allocate and account for public resources accordingly;
- Guarantee equitable provision of effective basic services; ensuring personal safety and security in communities with access to justice for all and an honest and accountable government that can combat corruption.
Muluzi said UDF will seek to invest in leaders “who continue to possess the rare qualities of selfless loyalty and devotion informed by desire to ensure the UDF remains a first party of choice for the people of Malawi. “
He also said they will seek to ensure that UDF Manifesto is a living document that outlines a credible plan to transform and deliver according to the needs of Malawians.
“You have placed on me a gigantic task that I am proud to take on. This task is to harness the UDF party into a great force of change that can lead Malawi through a unique transformation path: consolidation of our solid and credible party which can deliver on economic as well as political and social transformation for our beloved Malawi,” said Atupele reassuringly.
Meanwhile, the new UDF leader told the thousands of delegates that gathered that “I know the task is enormous and challenging but I can assure you that one of my main priorities is to make sure the grass root structures of the party across the country are revitalized.
“If we’re to remain a relevant institution we have to adapt change in terms of our operations and thinking. I know that we came to this convention a hugely divided organ but today we must put the past behind us and focus on rebuilding the party,” said Muluzi whose speech was often interrupted by singing women.
“I am aware of the challenging road ahead. As Hemingway says in Invictus: It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll; I am the master of my fate; I am the master of my soul.
“I cannot do this alone. I need your support. Our Chichewa proverb once again says: Mutu Umodzi susenza denga.”
Muluzi, a British trained solicitor, has over the years established himself as one of the country’s potential youthful leaders with his charisma encapsulated by his eloquence of the queen’s language.
He is adored by many for his humble and smart stature, a character that is not quite often associated with those from privileged background.
The young Muluzi has also sharpened a new trend on the political scene that virtually focuses on issues rather than character assassination and mudslinging.
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