UDF changes tune, advises its MPs to remain on govt side


The newly-elected opposition UDF national executive committee (NEC) has directed its MPs to remain on government benches in Parliament, overturning an earlier decision by the previous committee.

Before the October 30 convention, NEC directed all United Democratic Front (UDF) MPs to move to opposition benches, including the two who are holding ministerial positions in President Joyce Banda’s People’s Party (PP) government.

But new party secretary general (SG) Kandi Padambo said in an interview on Wednesday the new NEC met soon after the convention and overturned most of the decisions they argued were improperly made.

Said Padambo: “We were of the view that things were not coordinated as they should have been. We have put on hold and in some cases, reversed all decisions made before the convention.

“Some of the decisions were made by individuals. Apart from directing that our MPs should remain on government side, there are several other decisions we have reversed on the internal running of the party.”

Padambo, a former acting chief executive officer (CEO) at Escom, said the party’s NEC will soon meet to look at how it conducts its affairs to ensure it bounces back as a united party and a formidable force to reckon with.

UDF chief whip in Parliament Dr Clement Chiwaya, in a separate interview, confirmed that he got instructions from NEC to communicate to the Speaker of Parliament UDF’s latest position on the seating plan in the House.

Former SG Kennedy Makwangwala, who lost to Padambo at the convention, told the media in September that the party had ordered all its MPs, including the newly-elected UDF chairperson Atupele Muluzi, who is Economic Planning and Development Minister and Ibrahim Matola, Deputy Minister of Environment and Climate Change, to move to the opposition benches.

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