By Ayamba Kandodo, MEC Stringer
United Democratic Front (UDF) president, Atupele Muluzi has branded Malawi Congress Party (MCP) as a crocodile party, apparently meaning a killing party.
Atupele said this when he addressed a rally in Mangochi on Saturday, barely two days after being unveiled as the running mate of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and UDF electoral alliance for the July 2 fresh presidential election.
The UDF leader, hence, warned voters against voting it together with its UTM Party alliance.
“This is a good advice to you coming on time that you should not allow MCP to govern this country because if you do so you will regret as the party will revert its cruelties on you,” he said.
He said the party is masquerading as good saints now just to win people’s sympathy but inwardly it is “evil ready to devour or pounce on its own people after assuming power”.
“Don’t make any slight mistake to choose MCP. Look! They masterminded protests that saw unprecedented violence in the country. Now, what about if they win?
“Instead, choose Peter Mutharika because he is the only visionary leader who has shown that he is development conscious and above all he maintains peace,” he said.
This in contrast to the advice that Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson, Justice Jane Ansah to all candidates during the presentation of nomination papers at Mount Soche Hotel on Wednesday and Thursday, urging the candidates to champion the cause for a clean campaign.
She urged everyone to confine themselves to an issue-based campaign as “Malawians are tired of mud-slinging and foul-mouthed electioneering.
“For a change, [Malawians] want this election to be peaceful,” she had said.
She went further to say she expects the candidates to take the responsibility to teach people about elections, more especially how to vote.
The advice reminded the candidates that MEC, in consultation with all political parties and electoral stakeholders, developed a Code of Conduct for Candidates and Political Parties during elections, which provides guidelines of how to conduct campaigns and some of the things which candidates or their followers should not do.
“I would like to urge you and to publicize the Code of Conduct you have signed and to observe it,” she had said.
Responding to Atupele’s attack, MCP secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka warned the DPP-UDF alliance running mate to be mindful of his words.
“Atupele Muluzi should be mindful of words. He has to know that the crocodiles he is referring to is his own father (Bakili Muluzi) because he was in-charge of such atrocities before this reformed MCP of ours,” he said.
Mkaka said it is unwise and unthinkable for the whole leader to start castigating others when he doesn’t know the originator of such atrocities.
“But maybe he needs to be schooled that all the atrocities people allege about MCP were orchestrated by Bakili Muluzi, Nicholas Dausi, Bright Msaka and other cronies who are comfortably basking in the glories of this ruling government,” he fumed.
Meanwhile, Chancellor College political analyst, Ernest Thindwa faulted Muluzi’s remark, saying it lacks issues.
“After MEC opened the floor for campaigning, leaders are supposed to utilise the period by selling themselves through issue-based campaign.
“This is not the time to talk ill about party A or party B or candidate C or D. It’s very unfortunate,” he said.
Thindwa advised parties or leaders to stick at telling eligible voters what their parties will do after being successful and not bad-mouthing.
Mustafa Hussein, a political scientist from the same Chancellor College, also blamed Muluzi, calling it a “hate-speech” every leader should refrain at all its cost during campaign to avoid provoking violence.
“This is a provocative sentiment although made on a political podium,” Hussein said. Muluzi could have done better if he could tell people what their alliance will do to people when elected into government not these crocodile issues.”
Atupele toured the Eastern Region to assess his party’s mighty in the once UDF stronghold zone.
He first went on whistle-stop tour, first stopping at Thondwe Trading Centre then Zomba City central, then at Chinamwali thereafter to Namwera Turn-off before making another stop at Liwonde.
After Liwonde, he stopped at Mangochi Turn-off then to Ulongwe all the way to Mangochi where he finally addressed a mammoth crowd that had been there since 10am.
The supporters were told to welcome him at 1pm at Mangochi roundabout but Muluzi arrived at the place around 5:30pm.
Muluzi said he was happy that what he has been “anticipating” has been accomplished.
“The DPP, under the wise and dynamic leadership of Peter Mutharika has singled me out as the best candidate to pair with during the forthcoming fresh presidential elections.
“This is wonderful to the people of the Eastern Region and as one way of showing appreciation, lets join hands and vote for our alliance to retain Mutharika to be the president and me to be the vice-president,” he said.—Additional reporting by Duncan Mlanjira