United Democratic Front (UDF) newly elected national chairman Atupele Muluzi has ruled out leaving government, saying the country’s harsh political and economic situation needs his party’s attention.

Muluzi’s remarks are in sharp contrast to the party’s former secretary general Kennedy Makwangwala who early this week said the UDF has agreed to pull out of government, saying the party does not want to be swallowed by another party.

“We are partners [with the People’s Party-led government] in addressing the political and economic challenges.

“The president is very inclusive in dealing with these issues. We are committed to addressing the economic situation,” said Muluzi.

Muluzi, who is minister of Economic Planning and Development in the Joyce Banda administration said his presidential ambitions for the 2014 general election would not affect his membership in the Banda administration.

President Joyce Banda ascended to power in April, 2012 and inherited economic mess following the withdrawal of aid from Malawi’s traditional donors due to what they said political and economic mismanagement during the reign of former president Bingu wa Mutharika

Banda then immediately assembled an all inclusive government involving several parties in the country in what she said would deal with the economic problems the country is facing.

Muluzi joined the cabinet with Ibrahim Matola, executive member of the party and the then Leader of UDF in government.

Muluzi said the convention, which was held on Tuesday in Blantyre did not ask the UDF ministers to quit the cabinet and wondered where Makwangwala got the instructions to issue such a decree without the blessing of the party.

Makwangwala lost his position during the convention to Kandi Padambo, a new comer in the political block.

Political and social analyst at Chancellor College Joseph Chunga advised Muluzi and his party to leave the Banda cabinet if he is to campaign effectively for the presidential race in 2014.

“He has his own agenda for change…He cannot fulfill this agenda if he is part of the government. If he wants to continue campaigning (for the presidency), he needs to pull out of government,” said Chunga.

Newly elected spokesperson for the UDF Ken Ndanga said in a separate interview the new executive committee would review some decisions and resolutions passed and implemented by the previous national executive committee.

“We will have a national executive committee very soon where we will have to review some decisions and resolutions ahead of the 2014 elections,” said Ndanga, saying the party wants to have policies which are in line with people’s aspirations.

Muluzi is likely to face political heavy weights in the 2014 presidential election that include President Banda, Democratic Progressive Party’s Peter Mutharika and Malawi Congress Party’s John Tembo if the last two leaders are elected during their respective party conventions.

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