UDF’s Atupele, Jumbe factions hold parallel rallies

Former ruling United Democratic Front  (UDF) had a busy weekend when its two factions held mass rallies in Zomba and Balaka,  which all attracted mammoth crowds.

In Zomba, acting UDF president Friday Jumbe held the rally at Ntonya constituency where he was joined on the podium by former state vice president Cassim Chilumpha and ex-Speaker Sam Mpasu.

Jumbe said they have embarked on the crusade to “rebuild the party from the grassroots level.”

Atupele Muluzi addressing the rally in Balaka

The former finance minister said they will be in the rural areas to reach out to the people and hold rallies .

Army abuse

Chilumpha in his turn blasted the Bingu wa Mutharika government for using the Army against ordinary and unarmed citizens.

He said it was “abuse of the military” to deploy the soldiers on an internal security matters.

“The army soldiers are specially trained to defend the sovereignty of the country form external forces and always use weapons. Police are trained to provide services to the internal security matters,” said Chilumpha, who had once served as defence minister.

He also expressed concern with the “security breakdown” in the country, citing the recent break-in at the National Audit Office in Lilongwe and the storming of the Anti-Corruption Bureau head offices in Blantyre by thugs believed to be sponsored by top government officials implicated in multi-million kwacha financial scams.

Atupele barnstorms Balaka

Atupele Muluzi, son of former president Bakili Muluzi, who has expressed interest to seek UDF nomination to be the party’s presidential candidate in 2014, held a rally in Balaka where he was flanked by most of his fellow parliamentarians.

In his speech, Atupele, said he was championing the agenda for change, saying a new UDF will take all measures that promise to fulfil the aspirations of the people of the country.

Atupele, 33, said he was “man enough” to steer the country out of the present challenges.

“We want to fix the country from the persistent power outages, water problems, fuel problems, scarcity of Forex and unemployment especially amongst the youth,” he said.

In his speech, Atupele repeatedly mentioned about democracy, good governance, respect for the rule of law, transpency and accountability as what needs to be fully adhered to.

He stressed that the next government should concentrate on sharing the national cake of development and reducing the gap between the rich and the poor.

“We need to change how we create and distribute wealth,” said Atupele.

He called for the change of “leadership style” and injection on “new thinking” and “team work”.

UDF in power from 1994 to 2004 has been rocked with internal power struggle since Muluzi announced at the end of 2009, his retirement from politics.

But the party’s secretary general Kennedy Makwangwala said he was optimistic the UDF will have a united front of its “genuine” members ahead of 2014 polls.

Thousands of people attended Atupele Muluzi's Balaka rally with some climbing in the trees

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