Malawi’s Minister of Economic Development and Planning, Mr. Atupele Muluzi says he has not abandoned his plan to contest in the 2014 presidential elections if elected at a UDF convention scheduled for October this year.
His statement comes amid mounting speculation that the young Muluzi will resign from cabinet before January 2013 to revamp his presidential ambitions.
Atupele, son to former President Dr. Bakili Muluzi, had the good will of most Malawians especially the youth prior to President Bingu wa Mutharika’s death when his Agenda for Change campaign spread like bush fire.
But his inclusion in the People’s Party government as Minister was considered by many as betrayal and, his critics say, revealed the political opportunism in him.
“At no time did I ever say that I have abandoned those plans. All I said was that I am in cabinet where I was invited to serve but I remain UDF. I think there is nothing wrong in serving in government because we have a duty to help Malawians,” said Muluzi in an exclusive interview aired on radio on Sunday.
This was the first time that the young Muluzi had granted interview to a journalist on political issues since his appointment in cabinet in May.
“You should understand the situation we were in as a country. We never knew things would turn the way they turned. So when the President invited me to serve in her cabinet there was no way I could refuse because this was still a service to my country.”
Mr. Muluzi said he was invited to serve in cabinet to help turn around the economy, saying in doing so he is still serving the people and is not in government for personal gains.
“One thing that we need to change is the perception that when in opposition you cannot be called to serve the government. That is not democracy; look at what is happening in UK or Zimbabwe where the government and the opposition joined forces to serve the people.”
Asked when he is resigning from cabinet, he said he will soon meet the UDF leadership to discuss the party’s call to have him and Mr. Ibrahim Matola quit cabinet to concentrate on UDF issues.
“We will discuss this matter with the party leadership so I appreciate what really do they want,” said the young Muluzi.
If elected presidential candidate at a UDF convention will he form an alliance with Professor Peter Mutharika’s Democratic Progressive Party?
“I can’t answer that one now because there so many parties that UDF can work with,” he said.