United Democratic Front (UDF) presidential candidate Atupele Muluzi on Sunday launched his party’s manifesto and campaign for the May 20 Tripartite Elections with a declaration that he is ready to govern the country after the elections.
Atupele said this at Njamba Freedom Park in Blantyre to thousands of people who attended the colourful launch that saw yellow balloons flown into the air and spiced up with live band performances.
“I am ready to govern Malawi. When I started the ‘agenda for change’, people said that I was young, osapolapamchombo. But I am telling them that the young person will be president of Malawi in May 2014,” said Atupele in apparent reference to his critics who said he was young and inexperienced to run State affairs.
Highlights of UDF’s manifesto include a pledge to introduce social protection policies which will see people without sources of income getting paid by the government and introduction of universal fertiliser subsidy instead of the coupon system in the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp).
Atupele, who resigned after briefly serving in President Joyce Banda’s first Cabinet appointed in April 2012, expressed disappointment that current economic policies are hurting Malawians.
Atupele promised to build another referral hospital in Blantyre to ease the pressure exerted on Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) and repair roads in the townships.
Atupele, son to Bakili Muluzi, Malawi’s first post-one-party State president, told the gathering that greed among political leaders is the major cause of problems facing the country.
He pledged to provide adequate financial resources to government departments, including the Malawi Police Service, to improve security..
In his remarks, UDF director of economic affairs Victor Mbewe, a former governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM), said the economy is in bad shape because of withdrawal of budget support by donors as well as poor management.
Apart from Atupele and Mbewe, others that spoke about the manifesto included national executive committee (NEC) member Kholiwe Mkandawire, who will represent the party in Mzimba Solola Constituency, and Abdul Moyo, a student at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College in Zomba.
UDF veterans, notably, Ziliro Chibambo and Peter Fatch, who served in various portifolios in Cabinet hired by Atupele’s father between 1994 and 2004, were also in attendance.
Several musicians, including Lucius Banda and Zembani Band, his brother Paul, Lulu and Saul Chembezi entertained the patrons as did comedians Izekindi Jacob.