Atupele Muluzi, son of first president in Malawi multi party rule, Dr. Bakili Muluzi, has been elected as a flag carrier of the United Democratic Front (UDF) at a national conference held at Comesa hall in Blantyre whose theme was “Put People First, UDF’s Agenda”. The Machinga North East Parliamentarian and Economic Planning & Development Minister in the Joyce Banda government amassed 2308 votes to defeat flamboyant Moses Dossi who managed to secure 23 votes and Ruth Takumana who got only 3 votes during the Tuesday October 30 2012 elections.
Ironically Dossi served as sports minister in Dr. Bakili Muluzi government and has ever challenged Dr. Muluzi to the party’s high office while Takumana, a new face in the political landscape served at the Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi (ESCOM) as a human resources executive.
Another contestant Dr. George Nga Mtafu withdrew from the race that had about 2500 eligible voters and overseer by an independent electoral body.
As chairperson of the party, Atupele, 34, becomes UDF’s presidential candidate during the 2014 elections and it is yet to be seen how he will play his cards campaigning for the country’s presidency under UDF while serving as a minister under government led by another party.
The young Muluzi is deputized by Iqbar Omar as first national chairman. The Lilongwe based businessman and former cabinet minister amassed 1803 votes to defeated Dr Godfrey Chapola and Moses Kachere.
The post of second deputy chairperson has gone to Victoria Mponela while that of third deputy chairperson is held by Charles Chikuwo.
The convention delegates voted into power former ESCOM chief executive officer Kandi Padambo to the post of secretary general defeating long time UDF member and former general secretary Kennedy Makwangwala. Padambo got 1479 votes while Makwangwala pooled 690 votes and unionist Austin Kalimanjira 139 votes.
The post of deputy secretary general has gone to Gerald Mponda, who once served as a member of parliament in Blantyre under the senior Muluzi led government. Mponda defeated the party’s chief whip and Mangochi parliamentarian Dr. Clement Chiwaya and UDF former minister Leonard Mangulama.
The positions of treasurer general and deputy treasurer general have gone to Austin Kajiso Gondwe and Foster Ntandama. Both positions were won unopposed.
Lilian Patel, who chaired the organizing committee, was elected national organizing secretary with Howard Kananji as her deputy, while Ken Ndanga has been entrusted to be the party’s public. He was the deputy party spokesperson.
Director of disability is Moffart Yadidi while that of agriculture has gone to Dorothy Ngoma. Director of external security Mathews Masoapyola.
Over 5 000 UDF followers from all walks of life swarmed at the venue of the conference where it also pooled party followers from abroad and representatives from both international and local parties.
Chairperson of the organizing committee called upon those elected to put people first, saying it is a trend in Malawi that when one is elected into power behaves as if he or she is above those who voted them into power.
“But as UDF we are urging those to be elected to start putting people first because those are the ones that matters in everything,” she said.
The founding UDF leader Dr. Muluzi, currently receiving medical treatment in South Africa, urged the UDF followers to give chance to the youth and women as one way of building and strengthening the party. His speech was read by lawyer Kalekeni Kaphale.
The convection was nearly disrupted but the High Court in Malawi had to dismiss an application for an injunction to stop the convention by a UDF faction group last week.
During the 2014 presidential elections, the young Muluzi is expected to face his boss in government Joyce Banda who was recently elected by her Peoples Party un opposed as the party’s president. The Democratic Progressive party, which is yet to go for convection, has Professor Peter Mutharika as a toarch bearer while the Malawi Congress Party is yet to come out in the open about its 2014 presidential candidate but it has John Tembo as party president.
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