Jumbe rips Atupele on presidential bid

Acting president of former ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) Friday Jumbe has criticised lawmaker Austin Atupele Muluzi, former president Bakili Muluzi’s 33-year-old son, for announcing that he will seek nomination to stand as presidential candidate for 2014 general elections, saying it is a destructive agenda.

Jumbe speaking on Capital FM Straight Talk programme aired on Thursday also accused the former president for bankrolling and pushing his son to run for the presidency, saying since the UDF was formed it has never developed a succession plan.

Asked by journalist Brian Banda to comment on Atupele’s ‘Agenda for Change’ campaign, Jumbe a former finance minister in Muluzi administration said: “I admire his imagination, his courage and his vision if he has any on that particular aspect but those are his views.”

Jumbe: Atupele should have been groomed to be a future leader

He added: “Here is a person who thinks he is youthful then he has an agenda. It is up to the people of this country to understand what it means an agenda for change.”

Jumbe said there was no need to advance an agenda for change, because he pointed out, change dawned already in the country in 1993 and 1994 from dictatorship to a democracy spearheaded by Muluzi and late Chakufwa Chihana.

“The young people have always been in politics in this country,” he said.

Atupele was suspended by UDF after he announced his presidential bid. Jumbe explained that the Manchinga North East MP breached the constitutional provisions of the party.

Asked why other aspirants, who have declared interest to seek nomination for president, like Moses Dossi, Fahad Assani and including Jumbe himself have not been suspended, the acting UDF president said Atupele’s case was of “insubordination” for rejecting to appear before a disciplinary committee.

“I cannot be sitting here and pretending to be a president when somebody thinks is president somewhere,” he said.

“Atupele is somebody who is a son of a former leader of this party. He has been with us all along. We have seen him grow. He is as youthful as my daughter; the same age perhaps, therefore I look at him as somebody who could be my son if he was from the age point of view. He is our child.

“He is somebody who we could think he could be properly nurtured to become a good leader in future.”

Jumbe emphatically said Muluzi was influencing his son to run for presidency.

He said: “In the first instance Atupele is very close to his father, his mentor is his father, his financier is his father. The people that are going around talking about Atupele are getting instructions from BCA (private residence of Bakili Muluzi).”

During the interview, Banda asked Jumbe on his take that this is an Obama generation for leaders, he said: “The Obama generation is very good generation. Obama is in my age bracket [50-plus].”

Atupele dismissed the assertions that his father is behind his presidential aspirations.

“I am my own man. I am very clear about that,” said Atupele, a British trained solicitor.

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