The UDF followers claimed they did not know whether Muluzi’s acceptance of a Cabinet post meant the collapse of his well-championed ‘Agenda for Change’ and his aspirations as the party’s 2014 presidential candidate.
Muluzi in an interview on Monday confirmed being summoned by followers, but said if he was still UDF and he has since held two meetings in Machinga and Mangochi.
UDF Mangochi district committee secretary Wellington Mangulenje said they do not want UDF to go to polls in 2014 without a presidential candidate.
Said Mangulenje: “People were surprised and did not know what the party’s position is after honourable Muluzi accepted a Cabinet post. People felt Agenda for Change was on right track and he was a favourable presidential candidate, especially among the youth.
“He told the UDF followers in Mangochi on Sunday that he accepted the post to help the new administration get the economic situation back on course. He told us the new President needed support from everyone. He also said he was still UDF and had not defected to the ruling People’s Party [PP].”
Mangulenje said not everyone is convinced with the explanation because some members still feared the party is on its death bed because it would be difficult for the party to challenge Banda in the presidential race while still in her government.
But Muluzi said he told UDF supporters to put aside politics to focus on rebuilding Malawi, adding he did not even discuss his aspirations as a UDF presidential candidate at the two meetings.
Muluzi said: “I had an impression they were convinced with my explanations. I told them we are in this bad economic situation and the President needed our support. I assured them I will remain a member of UDF.
“I told them I took an oath to serve the people of Malawi. Another thing I told them to understand is that I was never a UDF presidential candidate, but an aspirant. The situation will be clear when the national executive committee calls for a convention where a candidate would be elected; hence, my plea that we keep politics aside.”
Banda incorporated Muluzi in her first 33-member Cabinet she appointed on April 26 after ascending to power on April 7 following the sudden death of president Bingu wa Mutharika.