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All wanted me— Atupele

Leader of United Democratic Front (UDF), who is also Minister of Health, Atupele Muluzi has said he was approached by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM for a possible electoral alliance ahead of May 21 Tripartite Elections.

Muluzi said this Friday during a recording of a programme called Times Exclusive which airs today evening on Times Television.

Muluzi could neither confirm nor deny that these three parties wanted him as a running mate.

“There is a secret that Malawians know about me, they know that my commitment is for the country to develop. I have no enemies in politics. I cannot say it was only DPP that approached me, even UTM and MCP approached me.

“They all wanted the same thing that everybody wanted and that is to work together in whatever capacity. They all discussed the same issues and issues of working together are dependent on agreements. You have seen some alliances have crumbled,” he said

Muluzi said the discussions did not go wrong per say, arguing that political alliances are based on discussions that either materialise into an alliance or not.

“The decision to choose a running mate comes from the president and the party. Issues of political alliances are dependent on what the party wants and internal politics. Meaning that UDF also has its position, they can also agree but, in politics, discussions do not always go well,” he said.

DPP publicity secretary Nicholas Dausi declined to comment on the matter.

UTM spokesperson Joseph Chidanti-Malunga confirmed the development saying, to them, the whole idea was to change the country, hence partnering with anyone who desires the same was ideal.

“We did not want to be selfish, so we tried to reach out to everyone; this country is for all of us. Whoever was willing to partner with us was welcome. But the issue was how the matters were being handled  they paid more attention to the positions.

“And when you put positions ahead of things, we noticed that things did not go well. We thought the bigger picture was beyond positions; however, people think differently,” he said.

MCP publicity secretary Reverend Maurice Munthali referred the matter to the party’s secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka who could not pick up his mobile phone.

In December, Malawi News reported that DPP and UDF were failing to reach a consensus on a possible political alliance before the publication confirmed later in the month that the negations completely crumbled with no hope of a possible alliance ahead of May 21 Tripartite Elections.

But the two parties downplayed the problems, insisting it was too early to conclude alliances then six months before elections.

Malawi News also established in January that, on December 30 2018, Mutharika held talks with Muluzi with an aim of strategising how the two parties can formally work together in the Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government elections.

Malawi News understands that Muluzi then demanded that DPP should not field any candidate in all the 14 constituencies in Mangochi and Machinga.

The preliminary agreement, however, according to our sources, is said to have irked some of the DPP senior members from the two districts, some of whom were said to have already decided to contest as independent

BUT when contacted, Muluzi played down the reports, insisting that he would contest on UDF’s ticket.

Muluzi has held various ministerial positions since DPP assumed power in 2014.

The UDF leader is among the presidential candidates confirmed by Mec.

Others are Mutharika of DPP, Lazarus Chakwera of MCP, Vice- President Saulos Chilima (UTM), John Chisi (Umodzi Party), Peter Kuwani (Mbakuwaku Movement for Development) and Reverend Hadwick Kaliya (independent).

In 1994 polls, UDF entered into a coalition with other political parties. In 1999 and 2004, the party contested without partnering any political grouping. In 2009, UDF partnered MCP while DPP contested alone in its maiden appearance on the ballot paper. In 2014, both DPP and UDF contested without partnership.

The country’s 6.8 million registered voters will on May 21 queue to elect president and vice-president, Members of Parliament and ward councillors. – Listen more on Atupele Muluzi’s interview in Times Exclusive on Times TV this evening.

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