Too late for UDF new beginnings

The 40-year-old Atupele Muluzi has everything going for him: smarts, leadership, a grounded family and professional life and it has helped that dynasty has done him plenty favours in his life: He is former President Bakili Muluzi’s son after all.

After a shady alliance between his United Democratic Front (UDF) with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) brought him posts as Minister of Natural Resources, Energy, and Mining, Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security then as Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development a few months later, he could claim to know the workings of government very well.

With Cabinet experience on his belt and after several false starts he has finally found his feet in the Ministry of Health.

But after flirting between several ministries, it was only expected—at least in the Muluzi family—that the loyalty the party has shown DPP would be rewarded.

UDF relegated its position as an opposition political party of some influence with its members of Parliament MPs becoming backbenchers in Parliament; rubberstamping the government agenda while Atupele hob-nob with the ruling elite.

Unfortunately or perhaps fortunately for the junior Muluzi, his loyalty and that of his MPs will come to naught if that position of running mate does not go to Machinga.

Apart from the reward of a ministerial post, his father has been the biggest beneficiary of the DPP/UDF partnership. In the four years since then, the K1.7 billion case against Bakili has barely moved in the courts and there have been several overt attempts from unknown forces to stall the issue.

But it boggles the mind that the UDF never saw this coming. How could the political engineer that Bakili was touted to be not to realise that the majority of the DPP top dogs would bark at the idea of giving the position of running mate to a member of another political party, a political party that categorically refused to join the DPP at the time that it mattered?

Intelligence could have told Bakili and Atupele that memories of 2012 are still fresh in the minds of the DPP, the majority of whom are in the Cabinet and suffered the effects of fate snatching the future from under their feet.

The DPP never imagined April 6 2012 would ever happen. In their wild imaginations, they never saw Joyce Banda becoming president. But that fateful day happened.

The DPP was born out of the folly of Bakili trying to hold on to power by appointing a fellow that he could easily control in Bingu wa Mutharika.

Yes, in politics there are no permanent enemies but Bakili is only human and revenge is a human feeling. He could not have ingratiated himself into a political figure that he openly despised and blamed for his incarceration and 12 year-long court case for no reason.

After long negotiations and Mutharika under the control of his Lhomwe glitterati not bulging at the idea of a Muluzi taking over the presidency one day, it has come to pass that UDF will go at it alone.

But it is an affront to the supporters of the UDF who have stood with the party as it was relegated to the sidelines to talk of new beginnings now.

What UDF and Atupele have for them is the loyalty of the Eastern Region which in retrospect speaks of the regionalistic and nepotistic beliefs of the political leaders and Malawians in general.

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