Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) says the appointment of its president Atupele Muluzi into President Peter Mutharika’s Cabinet does not translate into a working alliance with the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Mutharika appointed Atupele, who was one of the 12 presidential candidates in the May 20 Tripartite Elections, as Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining at midnight on Sunday to complete his promised 20-member Cabinet.
But UDF secretary general Kandi Padambo, in an interview with The Nation yesterday, said the appointment has not changed his party’s status as it remains in the opposition bloc.
Said Padambo: “As a party, we have not gone into any political alliance with DPP. The appointment of our president does not change our stand and does not make the UDF cease to be an opposition party. We will continue discharging our duties as an opposition party to the expectation of all Malawians.”
He said as an opposition party, UDF will continue opposing all laws and policies that are not in the best interest of the majority of Malawians.
However, Padambo said his party will support all policies DPP and its administration will come up with as long as Malawians do not have problems with them
He said: “As a party, we have made our position clear that we will remain a responsible party inside and outside Parliament. The fact that our president has joined government will not compromise our position.”
On whether the party does not think DPP was merely after using its president to increase its numerical strength in Parliament, Padambo said: “We think the appointment is in good faith, but if somewhere along the way we see it is not sustainable, we will see what to do then.”
Muluzi was also among the first Cabinet ministers appointed by former president Joyce Banda when she ascended to the presidency in line with constitutional order in April 2012 following the death of president Bingu wa Mutharika.
However, few months later, Atupele quit following what Padambo described as misunderstandings between UDF and Banda’s People’s Party (PP) on issues to do with Government of National Unity (GNU).
“Last time, we wanted to help and we thought the Government of National Unity [GNU] would be in the best interest of all the parties, but he resigned because certain developments turned out which we thought were not in the best interests of the party as well as Malawians,” Padambo said.
Meanwhile, as we went to press, the UDF executive committee was meeting to discuss the recent developments, which some members said they only heard about from the radio.