The dust is refusing to settle in the former ruling UDF party with the latest accusation from Acting President, Friday Jumbe that former President Dr. Bakili Muluzi is funding the partyâs âillegalâ convention scheduled for October 30.
Mr. Jumbe, handpicked by Dr. Muluzi to act as President in 2009 when Dr. Muluzi quit politics, says the former Head of State is funding the indaba because he wants his son, Atupele, to be elected presidential candidate.
Currently Atupele is Minister of Economic Development and Planning in the Peopleâs Party government as a part of a makeshift government of national unity.
âWe should not beat about the bush. Dr. Muluzi is behind this convention and he is the one funding it. As you know in UDF we donât even half a bicycle where do you think the K35 million for the convention has come from? It is Muluzi who is funding it because he wants his son to go through,â alleged Jumbe. âDr. Muluzi is still in politics and we all know what he is up.â
But Chairperson for the convention, Mrs. Lilian Patel told ZBS that funds for the indaba will come from any well wisher.
âIt is not true that Dr. Muluzi is funding the convention for his son,â said Patel.
Meanwhile, Mr. Jumbe and his faction have said they donât recognize the October 30 convention and that if the other camp goes ahead it is just a waste of time and resources.
âWe have our region; they have also a region to tap delegates from. We have district delegates, they also have their own and so onâŠ..so do you think this will be a convention or just play? Why canât we wait and solve out these problems,â said Jumbe.
âMy friend, politics is big investment. Some of us we have spent our money in the party. We have turned down jobs to serve the party and today all of a sudden someone cannot just fund a convention for personal gains? I can sell my house today and raise K30 million to fund the convention but will that be a real convention? All I want is that we must first iron out our differences,â he said.
Asked what will happen if the other UDF camp goes ahead to hold the convention and elect people including presidential candidate for 2014, Mr. Jumbe said that would be catastrophic.
âWe will not recognize anyone. I am the acting President so no group can hold a convention in the name of UDF. We will not recognize them,â said Jumbe.
Mrs. Patel has however accused Mr. Jumbe of killing the party, saying ever since he was told to act on the presidency he has never called for or attended any National Executive meeting.
âDo you call that a person a President. For two years now he has never addressed a rally. Politics is about being in contact with the people,â said Patel adding;
âAfter all his position does not appear in the partyâs constitution it was something that we were supposed to discuss but how do we discuss with someone who doesnât attend to party affairsâ.
Such divisions in the UDF have been persistent throughout the year and if not handled with care the party risks not having a presidential candidate come May 2014 when the general elections will be held.
Ironically in 2009 the UDF had to partner with MCP at the eleventh hour because the party had no presidential candidate after the Electoral Commission ruled that the partyâs presidential candidate, Dr. Muluzi was ineligible having already ruled Malawi from 1994 to 2004.
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