Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) presidential candidate Atupele Muluzi has described as bogus, opinion polls that have come out ahead of the May 20 Tripartite Elections.
Atupele, who has been rated as a rank outsider on position four in two recent opinion polls, said at a news conference in Blantyre yesterday the surveys are aimed at distracting other candidates and their followers.
He claimed that some pollsters have ever approached him and offered their services to tip the opinion polls in his favour, but he refused.
Said Atupele: “I have said no to this [sponsoring opinion polls]. People have made this a business. But I want to assure Malawians that UDF is determined and focused to make the next government on May 20. These opinion polls are not credible.”
Asked why he did not want to name and shame people that contacted him and offered to cook up an opinion poll in his favour, Atupele said Malawians know what is on the ground.
He said: “The nation knows what is happening. This is propaganda. In Zambia, there were opinion polls that favoured Rupiah Banda [who was the incumbent president] and placed Michael Sata far, but Sata won the elections.”
The UDF torchbearer, who called for the news conference to outline what his government would do should Malawians vote his party into power next Tuesday, said the scenario was the same in Kenya where opinion polls ruled out Uhuru Kenyatta, but he went on to win the presidency.
He said UDF was not losing sleep over the opinion polls, challenging that his party has done a lot on the ground and was ready to govern and transform Malawi.
An opinion poll released on Friday by the US-based Afrobarometer placed the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Peter Mutharika as a frontrunner with 27 percent of the vote followed by Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and incumbent President Joyce Banda of People’s Party (PP) at 21 and 19 percent respectively.
The Afrobarometer opinion poll, conducted between March 23 and April 7 2014 with a sample size of 2 400, placed Atupele on fourth position with 14 percent.
Another earlier and most controversial opinion poll by Research Tech Consultants favoured Banda to win the forthcoming elections, followed by Chakwera, Mutharika and Atupele in that order.
During yesterday’s news conference, Atupele pledged that if voted into power, he would appoint a credible and professional Cabinet that will live within its means and comprise honest and accountable leaders that have Malawi’s best interest at heart.
Said Atupele: “[My administration will within 100 days] establish a permanent national economic planning commission to oversee coherent policy planning and implementation.”
Atupele said within the same first 100 days, his government would set out a robust budget that clearly outlines hard choices within competing priorities and efforts to grow and stabilise Malawi through priority sector.
Atupele later in the afternoon lined up nine campaign rallies within Blantyre.