The appointment of Atupele Muluzi as a cabinet minister has forced the United Democratic Front (UDF) camp that supports him to go back to the drawing board on how it handles the presidential campaign ahead of 2014 general elections.
Speaking in an interview on Saturday, one of the camp’s leader Ibrahim Matola, who has also been appointed cabinet minister, said they will meet on Wednesday to discuss the future of their presidential candidate Atupele Muluzi and his campaigns.
Muluzi was one of the early frontrunners for the 2014 presidential race, who announced his ambition and started campaigning in the name of selling the political concept of ‘Agenda for Change.’
However, with only a year and half before the once eagerly anticipated elections, the political landscape has completely changed with the sudden death of President Bingu wa Mutharika as now Joyce Banda is in power.
Banda has even surprised both her allies and foes by appointing almost an inclusive government where Muluzi is Economic Planning Minister.
Matola in an interview said even the whole idea of centring their political campaign on ‘Agenda for Change’ will be discussed.
“The future of the agenda for change will be decided at this meeting. We are in a tricky situation but we have to come up with a decision sooner or later,” said Matola who is new deputy Environment and Climate Change Management Minister.
He said the meeting will also decide on the issue of the party’s leaders in the national assembly as he and Muluzi, who were its leader of the house and deputy, respectively are no longer eligible due to the appointment.
“We were supposed to meet last week on this issue but one of our members lost his wife and most of us rushed there and we were unable to form a quorum. Unfortunately I can not divulge other issues on the agenda but this meeting is very important,” added Matola.
Following his early campaigns before the UDF went to a convention, Atupele announcement that he will gun for the presidency and his campaign under the theme ‘Agenda for Change’ annoyed some senior party executives who insisted their Constitution had to be followed to the letter.
The party suspended him for insubordination and he, alongside his sympathisers formed a camp within the UDF which was at loggerheads with the Friday Jumbe-Cassim Chilumpha camp.
Commenting on the recent political developments a UDF senior official said the party’s MPs have joined cabinet as individuals.
“UDF will field a candidate in 2014. Atupele Muluzi and Ibrahim Matola have joined as individuals. Their departure doesn’t affect us, as a party we can not dissolve ourselves. We will support government but elections are a different issue,” Mpasu said.