United Democratic Front (UDF) says its new national executive committee (NEC) will meet soon to decide how the party will contest in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
UDF president Atupele Muluzi, who reclaimed his position unopposed during a convention at Comesa Hall in Blantyre, said this in an interview with The Nation last evening.
He said: “It is extremely important that we sit down as a party with the new leadership now in place to make sure that we set an agenda. The emphasis is on a new beginning for the party and hopefully we would also want to bring in new ideas.”
Atupele’s sentiments come barely a week after re-elected secretary general Kandi Padambo told The Nation in an interview that the party—currently in a working relationship with governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)—is open to coalitions as its constitution does not restrict the same.
Atupele, who is Minister of Health in President Peter Mutharika’s Cabinet, also said UDF will assess ideologies of political groups, interested individuals—including losing candidates at the convention—as it seeks a new beginning.
Besides Atupele and Padambo, others re-elected unopposed were Lillian Patel (vice-president for the Eastern Region), Victoria Mponela (vice-president for the Northern Region), Carlton Sichinga (treasurer general) and Andrew Mkana (deputy national organising secretary).
In the race for national organising secretary, Abubaker Mbaya beat Martin Jawadu while Ken Ndanga retained the post of publicity secretary after amassing 1 400 votes against 837 for Aisha Mambo.
The position of national campaign director went to Innocent Baisi who beat Austin Kalimanjira and Ibrahim Jamali while Mike Anthony defeated Clement Stambuli to become vice-president for the Central Region.
UDF’s new deputy treasurer general is Nelson Phoya who defeated Square Mkwanda; national director of elections is Wellington Nakanga who beat Pemba Mussa; and Lance Mbewe—UDF founding member Patrick Mbewe’s son—won the vice-president for the South after beating Frank Mkwanju. Ndanga’s deputy is Judith Ngwira while Dave Rally will deputise Padambo.
In attendance at the opening ceremony were Atupele’s father, former Head of State and UDF founding president Bakili Muluzi; and his colleagues Peter Fatch and Patrick Mbewe who were given a special mention for their contributions to the transition from one-party dictatorship to multiparty democracy in the early 1990s.
In his address, Bakili Muluzi called on politicians not to exaggerate the spirit of multiparty democracy as it is easily destroying the country.
He also urged people to exercise their democratic rights with responsibility and respect their leaders.
Said Bakili Muluzi: “Please do not destroy this country because of politics. This is the only country we have. Should we destroy it because of politics? Multiparty should not destroy this country.
“Whether mlamu [in-law] or not, you cannot stand on the podium and call your President mtchona.”
Padambo said Bakili Muluzi and his colleagues have directed the party on how democracy should be; hence, the party still remains relevant up to date.
Also present were Democratic Progressive Party vice-president (Southern Region) Kondwani Nankhumwa, secretary general Greselder Jeffrey and Southern Region governor Charles Mchacha. Lhomwe Paramount Chief Ngolongoliwa was also present as was United States of America Ambassador Virginia Palmer.
People’s Progressive Movement president Mark Katsonga, Umodzi Party president John Chisi, businessperson Leston Mulli, Senior Chief Kawinga and Senior Chief Kapeni were also present.
The convention budget was pegged at K75 million and it attracted about 2 500 delegates.