Malawi comes first, politics second – Atupele

Malawi’s opposition United Democratic Front (UDF)  presidential candidate Austin Atupele Muluzi has openly declared that his main priority is to help President Mrs. Joyce Banda in solving the country’s economic misfortunes and his political ambitions are secondary.

Atupele, a serving Economic Planning and Development minister in Banda’s cabinet, told Zodiak radio’s Tiuzeni Zoona program on Sunday edition that President Banda has proved beyond doubt that she has the heart to lead Malawians to the promised land hence his support for her policies.

He said contrary to what others are suggesting that he quit his cabinet portfolio to concentrate on his candidacy, the young Muluzi told the radio that doing so would bring uncertainty in the country.

“This is not time for political ambitions; yes I’m UDF presidential candidate for 2014 elections but right now I feel duty bound to help the President the best I can in turning around the economic malaise.

Muluzi: Patriotic

“You know currently the government led by President Banda has put in place policies to demystify the economic trajectory and she trusted me with that responsibility as her economic planning minister; that is the trust she accorded to me and it will be ungrateful on my part to betray her in such a manner just because I’m aspiring to become president,” said Muluzi who was being interviewed by stand-in presenter Winston Mwale.

On his plans for his party UDF, Atupele said currently the new leadership is planning to hold a meeting to map the best way forward in terms of finding better strategies of recruiting new more members.

He said he would work hard to strengthen the party at all levels.

On his relationship with former UDF caretaker leader Friday Jumbe who stayed-away from the convention, the young Muluzi said he has nothing personal against Jumbe and is willing to meet him and make peace.

“All my life I have never disrespected elders,” he said.

Man enough to lead

On criticisms that he is implementing a political script written by his father Bakili Muluzi, Atupele responded that he is a man of his own principles and is independent from his father.

“When I became MP for Machinga North-East it was Atupele Muluzi and not Bakili, when I got arrested by Bingu administration it was Atupele who got arrested and not my father. Even the ministerial position I’m serving it is Atupele who is Malawi’s economic planning minister and not Bakili, I hope that answers the criticisms.” said Muluzi.

Meanwhile, Muluzi described the forth coming polls as the most important chance for Malawi to nurture its destination.

“2014 will be a vote from being more of the same to a new future,” he said.

“In 2014, Malawi will be 50 years old since gaining independence so it is the best moment for Malawians to choose the kind of future we want because in the 50 years we have been independent our friends like China, Singapore, Malaysia, Brazil have made very significant economic progress,” he added.

On whether the Banda administration is making progress in terms of its recovery plan, Muluzi reiterated that the damage caused by the late Bingu wa Mutharika administration was enormous.

He however, observed that Banda is committed to take the country out of the economic incongruity it is currently sailing through.

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