United Democratic Front (UDF) president Atupele Muluzi courted Malawians to vote for President Peter Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the July 2 fresh presidential election, saying he is a tried and tested leader.
The UDF leader, who is son to former president Bakili Muluzi, is Mutharika’s running mate in the election. DPP and UDF have formed an electoral alliance to in a bid to garner votes following Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal’s interpretation of majority as 50-percent-plus-one vote in the presidential election.
Speaking during a whistle-stop rally at Biwi Triangle in Lilongwe on arrival from Mangochi and other areas in the Eastern Region, Atupele said Mutharika is the person Malawi needs to develop.
He said: “If you want your car to live longer, you don’t give it to a learner or else he will smash it. On 2 July, we should not make that mistake of giving learners the leadership of this country. Let us give Mutharika the votes that he deserves. I respect him a lot, ndi mtondo. Some of these people will just lead us astray.”
Ironically, Atupele, in the run-up to the May 21 Tripartite Elections in which he faced Mutharika and others in the presidential race, described Mutharika as someone who does not listen to people.
Yesterday, he also said Mutharika deserves the votes because he is “the most patient person” he had ever seen in the past 10 years when the country faced post-election protests, some of which turned ugly.
Malawians are set to elect a President on July 2 following decisions by the High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court and the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal which upheld the lower court judgement that nullified the May 21 2019 presidential election over alleged irregularities, especially in the results management system.
The judgement followed a petition filed by the country’s estranged Vice-President Saulos Chilima—who contested in the race as UTM Party torchbearer—and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera.
Chakwera and Chilima have since partnered in a nine-party Tonse Alliance as presidential candidate and running mate, respectively.
In the nullified presidential election, Atupele finished fourth with 235 164 votes or 4.67 percent while Mutharika polled 1 940 709 votes (38.57 percent). On the other hand, Chakwera had 1 781 740 votes (35.41 percent) and Chilima—making his debut on the presidential ballot—finished third with 1 018 369 votes or 20.24 percent. The third candidate in the fresh poll, Peter Kuwani of Mbakuwaku Movement for Development was fifth with 20 369 votes, representing 0.40 percent.