Malawi opposition lawmaker Atupele Muluzi on Sunday barnstormed the Eastern region with a whistle-stop rallies, defining his much touted ‘agenda for change’ which he said is a platform for his new generation.
Thousands of people lined the route from Blantyre to Machinga to have a glimpse of the youthful UDF presidential hopeful on his first road show rallies since his arrest last week.
His first stop was in Liwonde followed by Nsanama, Ntaja and in T/A Nyambi, Machinga North East constituency.
Atupele’s message was that “a new generation will drive change in 2014”.
He said: “The country is at a crossroads. People are worried about the rising cost of living. The rising cost of sugar, cooking oil and many other essential commodities. There is no money in circulation. Small businesses are on the verge of collapse”.
Atupele told thousands of supporters that he is travelling the width and breadth of the country in order to speak to ordinary people about the state of the country , saying Malawi “appears to be broken and those in power seem to have run out of ideas.”
He said his generation is witnessing unprecedented changes around the world and is demanding “a better quality of life. Greater freedoms and opportunities.”
Atupele said: “We have witnessed the economic miracle that is China within a very short period and we are asking why we too cannot succeed. We do not want to lag behind.”
He said his generation want the opportunity to dream great things and be able to realise those dreams.
“We demand better relationships with our regional and international partners. We cannot do this alone. We cannot go on this journey alone,” he said.
Atupele told the jubilant crowds: “My generation is saying enough with the politics of the old. Enough of the divisions that have characterized our society. We need a fresh start. A new model and a new beginning.”
He said the 2014 elections provides Malawi a rare opportunity of “renewal” where he said “we can asses ourselves from a vantage point of hindsight.”
Said Atupele: “We need fresh minds and new ideas. We need new thinking altogether. Young and old working together in harmony.”
Defines change agenda
The presidential aspirant took time to define his agenda for change, saying it aims to be a “platform for new thinking and transformation.”
He said: “We desperately need to build a new generation to take Malawi to the next level.”
Adding: “This is not about me becoming President of Malawi, but I believe that I need to give hope and hopefully inspire a new generation to take charge.
“I believe that as one door closes another opens. My job is to be part of the opening of a new door.”
He stressed: “The Change Agenda is not about Atupele Muluzi, it must be about a new beginning for all of us.”
Atupele, 34, is the son of ex-president Bakili Muluzi. He was arrested last week after security forces prevented him from addressing a rally in Lilongwe and UDF supporters torched a police unit.
The lawmaker said he remains determined to fight on despite threats of arrests, intimidation and persecution.
“To my detractors I have this to say; you may threaten me. You may arrest me. I will not back down until we bring Change in 2014,” he said attracting cheers and chants.
He also said his detractors were busy cooking false stories, saying he will not be cowed into submission.
“There will be a lot of propaganda designed to discourage us but please keep your faith. Keep your spirit and together let us work hard to transform our beautiful country in the image of God,” he said.
Sounding religious, he added: “God has a purpose for all of us and let us pray that He gives us wisdom and grace.”
He said the choice of a presidential candidate will come from the people and appealed to leaders to listen to what the people are saying.
“The mark of a good politician is to be a good listener.”
He said he was keen in rebuilding a new UDF “that reflects the wishes and aspirations of the people.”
Atupele rallies have drawn large crowds since he announced his plan to run for presidency in 2014 elections.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :