United Democratic Front (UDF) loyalists say they will rally their support on Atupele Muluzi’s bid to contest for president in 2014 general elections, despite what they call cheap propaganda by some disgruntled party’s national executive members against him.
The party’s interim president Friday Jumbe, secretary general Kennedy Makwangwala and director of research Humphreys Mvula among others are record of fighting Atupele in an attempt to bar him from contesting in the presidential race.
Recently, Mvula told a local radio station that UDF party will not allow Atupele to contest from the hot seat during the next year’s party convention due to age issues.
“As our convention scheduled to take place in April 2012 which is next year, the UDF party will not accept Atupele to compete from the party’s presidential candidate because our constitution bar anybody whose age is below 35 years to contend for such a high office”, said Mvula.
However, at a meeting held at the party’s head office in Blantyre over the weekend which was attended by the party’s representatives from its branches and local areas, Mc Donald Symon party’s regional governor for the south described Mvula’s remarks as confusing.
“According to our original UDF constitution the party’s presidential candidate shall be elected at the party’s convention a year before general elections not two years before as Mvula indicated. This is totally a lie and cheap propaganda by Mvula and his men,” said Symon.
He said “the UDF constitution was never amended as claimed by Mvula”.
“Since 2008, UDF convention which was held in April at Comesa Hall in Blantyre where the party endorsed former president Bakili Muluzi to represent the party in 2009 general elections before he was blocked by Malawi Electoral Commission at eleventh hour, the party has never conducted another convention until now. Where and when the amendments of the UDF constitution took place,” Symon queried.
Symon said, Atupele shall be over 35 years by 2014 general elections and exactly 35 years a year before general elections where the UDF party shall hold its convention to endorse its presidential candidate that shall represent the party in 2014 polls.
The UDF loyalists and governors also said the next year’s convention is aimed at electing its national executive members who be responsible for the affairs of the party and not endorsement of presidential candidate for 2014 elections.