He is struggling to shake off the image that he cannot stand on his own and is only riding on the Muluzi name to propel his political fortunes ahead of the 2014 elections.
But, for now at least, Malawi’s opposition United Democratic Front president Atupele Muluzi has every reason to sport a smile on his youthful face because his decision to resign from Cabinet has resonated with Malawians, according to a Nation on Sunday survey.
The survey, conducted through face-to-face interviews in 17 districts, the social media as well as SMS, saw 75 percent of the people agreeing with Atupele on his decision to leave Cabinet from a sample of a 1,000
For political scientist Dr Blessings Chinsinga, the resignation was only inevitable given the difficult situation Atupele put himself in when he decided to join government when he has political ambitions of his own.
“It had to come anyway, the fact that it happened was prudent on his part because it would have been difficult to campaign against a government which he was part of, it would also have been difficult to stage the rally at Njamba while still in government.
“Again, the resignation was to exploit public sympathy and reinvigorate his Agenda for Change ahead of 2014,” said Chinsinga.
Chinsinga decried what he called petty politics of attacking the person instead of concentrating on ideas.
“Belonging to different parties does not make us enemies; it just shows that we have different ideas. Politicians all aim at creating better Malawi and they should just focus on that and not petty issues like whether Atupele speaks Yao or not,” he said.
Atupele’s Agenda for Change, a platform he used to launch his political career in earnest, fizzled out after joining Cabinet. Whether he can resuscitate it now after leaving Cabinet remains to be seen.
On his bid for 2014 and the ‘daddy’s boy’ image that continues to cling tenaciously to the son of the country’s former president Bakili Muluzi, Chinsinga advised Atupele to prove to the nation that he is his own man by tabling ‘tangible alternatives’ that will set him apart from his father.
“If the UDF Policy Conference slated for next year, which I believe is Atupele’s brainchild, is successful, it will make Malawians view him in different light. He has already started taking steps in the right direction and if he just follows them, we might see him as his own man, not daddy’s good boy,” he said.