UDF suspends Atupele after announcing presidential bid

Malawi’s former ruling United Democratic Front (UDF)  has decided to suspend lawmaker Austin Atupele Muluzi, former president Bakili Muluzi’s 33-year-old son,  after he  announced he will seek nomination to stand as presidential candidate for 2014 general elections.

UDF communicated the suspension to Atupele through a letter signed by Secretary-general Kennedy Makwangwala on Friday.

In the letter, the party says it has to suspend the lawmaker and bar him from conducting meetings and doing any business under the banner of UDF or use its emblem and slogans.

Mankwangwala, who was communicating the decision taken by other aspirants for the presidency including Friday Jumbe,  Dr Cassim Chilumpha, Dr George Mga Mtafu and their strategist Humphrey Mvula, said the MP had not responded to three letters calling him for a disciplinary hearing.

Atupele Muluzi: The agenda for change will not be distracted

The letter seen by Nyasa Times also said Atupele will during the period of suspension cease to be the party’s deputy leader in the National Assembly.

But reacting, the young Muluzi said he was not moved with the letter.

“I have just received the letter today. I am not going to be distracted from my move to advance the agenda for change,” said Atupele in an interview.

“This agenda for change for a better Malawi is beyond party boundaries. Young people want better jobs, better services, a better future and they are calling for a new type of thinking. Malawians in general want a better tomorrow,” said the youthful conviction politicians.

Atupele stressed that he is standing on a platform of “change” and based on “new thinking” in politics.

Muluzi, a legislator for his Machinga North East constituency, said Malawi was going through political, social and economical problems that must be tackled with a changed mindset.

UDF leader in parliament Ibrahim Matola and party chief whip Dr Clement Chiwaya have however said Atupele will remain their deputy leader, disregarding the decision by the party officials who are not members of parliament.

“Everyone has been campaigning in the party. Jumbe has been campaigning, Chilumpha is campaigning, Fahad Assani is campaigning for  presidency and Moses Dossi has been campaigning all along so what is wrong with Atupele declaring his stand that he would want to seek nomination. This is the type of politics of pull each other down that needs to change,” said Chiwaya.

But Makwangwala, who acknowledged of not authoring the letter, drafted by the party gurus but only signed it, said the decision was legally binding.

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