At a press conference addressed by the United Democratic Front (UDF) faction led by interim president Friday Jumbe in Blantyre on Tuesday, it transpired that the current mudslinging and misunderstanding between that camp and that which supports former Head of State Bakili Muluzi’s son, Atupele, are nowhere close to the end.
At his private Superior Hotel and leading a pack of nine other senior members, Jumbe declared total war against the Atupele camp, accusing it, particularly the ‘rebellious’ Secretary General Kennedy Makwangwala “of taking instructions from BCA; and funding from BCA”.
Former president Muluzi’s private residence is located in the suburban BCA residential area in Malawi’s commercial capital, Blantyre.
No fear factor
“It’s no longer a guarded secret that the people that are a source of confusion in our party including Atupele and Makwangwala are being supported by Bakili. We do not fear Atupele as others have hoodwinked people to believe; it’s about his father,” said Jumbe, a former Finance Minister in the Muluzi’s administration.
He said Muluzi’s hand is now no longer invisible in all the machinations to bring disorder in the party “but it is now visible”.
Jumbe said his group is advocating for legal and party order and that any insinuations that “we fear Atupele” are ill-conceived and a lie intended at misleading the members as Muluzi allegedly works to perpetuate his rule via his son, Atupele.
He said the vices and misfortunes in the party emanate from the fact that Muluzi had always wanted to impose leadership on the party from the time his constitutional time in office neared the end in 2004, citing his desire to bring about constitutional change to allow for “open Term” and later “Third Term”.
He also cited the abrupt bringing in of a rank-outsider Bingu wa Mutharika when the two earlier bids had failed and then his failed comeback bid in 2009 and now his son, Atupele, as all pointing to a greedy leader who does not want to see others take over power.
He said in Tanzania where the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi has been ever successful, they have a deliberate successful plan, saying had the founding father of the party Julius Nyerere wanted his children to succeed him, the party would not have survived to-date.
He also said the same was true of the ANC of the legendary leader Nelson Mandela and SWAPO of Namibia “but when Kenneth Kaunda in Zambia wanted to bring in his son, UNIP broke up”.
Jumbe reprimanded Makwangwala for calling for a purported NEC meeting at the UDF Headquarters in Limbe on Monday, saying it was “null and void” as the members that attended were not genuine NEC members and that on his own, Makwangwala had no official mandate to call for the same.
He also accused Makwangwala of flouting the UDF constitution, particularly article 14 that deals with his duties and responsibilities, for announcing the dissolution of all positions “and all the powers reverting to him as Secretary General”.
Chilumpha, Mvula spit fire
Former vice president Dr. Cassim Chilumpha said their battle is on “principle and not personalities, arguing that the party belonged to Malawians and not a few individuals.”
He claimed his group would in the long run prevail.
On his take Humphrey Mvula said as senior members, they had all along respected the former Head of State and that this was “his pay back time”. He also dismissed suggestions that theirs was a ‘faction’, arguing it was the genuine UDF with properly elected and appointed members.
Other senior members that attended the press conference included Muhammad Kulesi, Rashid Nembo, Ziliro Chibambo, Sam Mpasu, Joseph Kubwalo and Nicholas Kachingwe, among others.
Atupele Muluzi addressed a mammoth crowd at Njamba Park in the city, emphasizing that the members of the UDF were the only ones to elect the party’s torch-bearer for the 2014 national presidential electios.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :