Dr. George Nga Mtafu, who until recently ‘united’ with the UDF faction that is led by UDF interim President Friday Jumbe, was on Wednesday at UDF Headquarters in Limbe, Blantyre, where presidential aspirant Atupele Muluzi held a party meeting.
Dr. Mtafu was until recently leader of a UDF faction, which rivaled Jumbe’s until the two camps announced they had come together as one UDF family “for the good of the party”. A few days after the unity announcement, Atupele, who had belonged to the Mtafu faction, announced his “agenda for change”, putting his name up as UDF presidential candidate in 2014 General Elections.
The youthful Atupele, who is Member of Parliament for Machinga North-east and a son of the former Head of State Bakili Muluzi, was recently suspended for apparently showing interest in being the UDF flag bearer in 2014.
However, UDF second vice president and an ally of Jumbe, Humphrey Mvula claimed that Atupele was suspended for allegedly failing to avail himself to a UDF disciplinary to answer charges of flouting the UDF constitution “by forming parallel party structures”. Atupele has since challenged the suspension in court.
Atupele told UDF Blantyre UDF committee leaders at the meeting on Wednesday that his ‘agenda for change’ is genuinely meant to bring about drastic change in party structure and management and that this could only be achieved through unity of purpose.
He said his aspiration to become the party’s candidate in 2014 should not derail other members’ efforts to re-brand and re-organize the party ahead of the crucial 2014 polls.
“There are a lot of opportunities ahead of us; the UDF has got all chances to form the next government in 2014 but that would only achieve this through unity, co-operation and dedication,” the young Muluzi said.
In his remarks, Dr. Mtafu threw his weight behind Atupele, accusing “some leaders” of sowing seeds of confusion in the party. He said after a thorough soul-searching exercise, he had come to terms with the fact that it was only Atupele who would successfully lead the party towards and after 2014 General Elections.
“I call on all UDF grassroots leaders to unite in supporting Atupele. There is a national convention coming soon where all positions on the NEC shall be contested. Let’s mobilize the necessary support for Atupele to triumph during that convention,” said Dr. Mtafu, a renowned neurosurgeon.
Other UDF presidential candidates include Jumbe, former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Fahad Assani, Dr. Saizi Bwanali, former state vice president Dr. Cassim Chilumpha and former cabinet minister Moses Dossi. It is not clear that with attendance at Atupele meeting meant, Dr. Mtafu had abandoned his presidential ambitions.
Notable members at the meeting were Dossi, UDF director of women in the South Dorothy Masinga and regional governor McDonald Symon, among others.
Invoking memories of his father, Atupele dished out hundreds of thousands of Kwacha to the leaders that attended the meeting. The members left late at night as they quarreled and shared the money.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :