Pressure mounts on Atupele to quit cabinet: Malawi opposition presidential candidate

Pressure continues mounting on the newly elected chairperson of the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) Atupele Muluzi, effectively becoming presidential candidate in 2014, to abandon his post of Minister of Economic Planning and Development.

The PP leader President Joyce Banda appointed Atupele into her cabinet soon after she attained the country’s leadership following the death of president Bingu wa Mutharika in April.

Atupele, a son to the former president Bakili Muluzi, was the most popular of all the opposition presidential aspirants during late president Mutharika’s reign especially among youths with his “agenda for change” campaign.

Political science lecturer from Chancellor College of the University of Malawi, Ernest Thindwa, said if UDF is really serious to go back into power there is great need for the young Muluzi to quit his direct involvement into government’s day-to-day affairs and should instead concentrate on how he will correct the mistakes of the current administration.

Austin Atupele Muluzi: UDF National Chairman and presidential candidate 2014

“My problem is that if he will continue serving in the PP government as a cabinet minister, it will be difficult for him to start campaigning against the policies of the government he has been part of. People will not take him serious,” said Thindwa during the ‘Contemporary Issues’ Program aired on Radio Islam.

Thindwa, who is also general secretary of Political Scientists Association of Malawi, said it is high time for Atupele to reach out to the party’s followers and assure them that the party is still strong.

However, UDF spokesperson Ken Ndanga who was also one of the panelists during the two-hour long program hosted by Yusufu Chinyada, said it’s a pity that most people think that when one is in opposition should not work with government.

“UDF working with [PP] government started a long time ago and we have no problem with it.  It’s up to Muluzi to decide what to do. The elections have been done shortly. We are yet to meet as a party to discuss those issues,” said Ndanga.

However many contributors to the program through SMS and phone calls had concurred with Thindwa saying by sticking to cabinet post Atupele who is UDF’s presidential candidate for 2014 elections  is delaying UDF’s plans of rebuilding and uniting the party which has been riddled with factions and also strategize on how it would win the polls.

Newly elected UDF secretary general Kandi Padambo said the party needs time to sort out its administrative machinery before commenting on the 2014 elections.

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