The recent reunion between the two United Democratic Front (UDF) ‘warring’ factions that had agreed to ‘burry the hatchet’ and work together “for the good of the larger party”, has more to it than hears the ear or than sees the eye, a senior politburo member has revealed.
One of the issues behind it is to fight ambitions by Atupele Muluzi, son of the former Head of State Bakili Muluzi, to be the party’s torch-bearer in the 2014 presidential polls.
Following reports of scheduled but failed disciplinary hearing against Atupele over alleged “indiscipline and gross disregard for the UDF constitution”; Nyasa Timeshas confirmed that the party is seriously strategizing to alienate him “as he proves a serious threat to other ambitious leaders”.
A senior party official said the senior members “have felt used and abused” by the Muluzi’s and that they have been in constant touch amongst themselves to plan Atupele’s ‘elimination.’
“It was just a matter of time and when he was called president of the UDF the time he condoled families of the victims of the July 20, 2011 demonstration shootings, it became a stepping-stone to fire him,” said the member.
The general feeling among the leaders was that Atupele’s manoeuvrings were being propelled by his father and this is “why you saw when Muluzi returned on August 14, 2011 from South Africa where he was receiving medical attention, senior members were conspicuously absent at Chileka Airport”, he said.
He said claims that the clergy led by Father Michael Mtambo of the Anglican Church had brokered unity between the two ‘UDF factions’ of Friday Jumbe and Dr. George Nga Mtafu were a smokescreen to give it (reunion) some credence.
“Dr. Mtafu is the only credible member of his faction that has decided to reunite with the Jumbe camp. All UDF MPs, who were behind him do not subscribe to the latest development,” he observed.
UDF leader in Parliament Ibrahim Matola and chief whip Dr. Clement Chiwaya’s phones went on calling when Nyasa Times wanted to seek a comment.
Atupele was summoned by the executive committee to discipline him why he has been conducting public rallies.
In a letter of August 23 2011 signed by the UDF secretary general Kennedy Makwangwala, it was alleged that the MP had grossly breached party discipline and total disregard of the party’s constitution and that UDF wanted to meet him on August 26, 2011 at Grace Bandawe in Blantyre. Muluzi did not oblige.
The UDF alleged that Atupele had been “declaring and campaigning, including through his agents, that he was the UDF candidate for 2014”.
“Recently you went to Mzuzu and regarded yourself as the party president and that whatever you did there, you were representing the UDF without the knowledge and mandate of the party,” reads the letter.
On September 2, 2011, the party again invited Muluzi for a disciplinary hearing at the same venue on September 5, this time round with Makwangwala warning that if he (Atupele) did not attend, it would be assumed that Atupele did not want to be heard.
The youthful Machinga North East Parliamentarian said after attending Eid-ul-Futri Islamic festival in Mangochi last Wednesday that after two weeks the will announce his next step in the political world.
Atupele stands for the youth and new thinking, saying it is time for the new generation to take over administration of governments in Africa.
UDF, meanwhile, also wants to change positions of officials at its structures who are said to be supporting Atupele.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :