By Pilirani Kachinzili:
United Democratic Front (UDF) Thursday put to bed rumours that the party would go into an alliance in May’s Tripartite Elections after its leader Atupele Muluzi presented nomination papers to Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec).
Muluzi unveiled Karonga Central Member of Parliament, Frank Mwenifumbo, as his running mate.
Muluzi made a grand entry at Comesa Hall escorted by jubilant supporters in the party’s traditional yellow and blue colours.
To show his determination to compete, Muluzi resigned as Member of Parliament for Machinga North East Constituency on Wednesday.
His resignation is pursuant to Section 82(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi which states that no person shall be eligible for nomination as a candidate for election as President or First Vice President or for appointment as First Vice President or Second Vice President, if he or she is a holder of public office or member of Parliament unless that person first resigns.
Muluzi submitted h i s nomination papers after talks with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to form an electoral alliance hit a snag. Reports indicate that UDF wanted the position of running mate but the DPP was reluctant.
In his speech, the UDF candidate, who is still Minister of Health in the DPP administration, took time to defend his continued stay in the government.
When Muluzi unveiled Mwenifumbo as running mate, UDF supporters chanted “Neba mutu sukugwira” (neighbour you is confused) in a subtle reference to the DPP.
He said working with the government has equipped him with capacity to observe and handle critical issues affecting the people of Malawi and to provide solutions.
Muluzi also promised that, if voted into power, he would ensure there are strong State security systems which would protect citizens.
“The State security system will trickle down to protect the endangered citizens which include children, women and people with albinism,” he said.
Muluzi also said he would make sure that there is a spirit of tolerance in the country regardless of differences in political affiliation, culture, tribe or religion.
He also promised to create a conducive economic environment for investors from within and outside the country.
“Malawi is not just our nation, but it’s you and me,” he said.
After Muluzi presented the nomination papers, it was the turn of Tikonze People’s Movements president Cassim Chilumpha, who unveiled Zione Akuziona Matumba as running mate.
Chilumpha was accompanied to the venue by a handful of supporters clad in their green party regalia.
The former State vice president, who also served in several Cabinet portfolios in the UDF administration, promised equal distribution of resources, boost agriculture and combat corruption in government.
“We have to believe that we can have a better Malawi. We need equal distribution of resources,” he said.