THE rift between supporters of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its political partner the United Democratic Front (UDF) yesterday took an ugly turn after followers from both camps publicly defied their leaders’ call to unite.
UDF leader Atupele Muluzi, who is also Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nakhumwa presided over the launch of the Decent and Affordable Housing Programme in Mangochi.
The event attracted supporters from both UDF and DPP who, despite being in a pact, were engaged in a verbal war, with UDF supporters singing songs in praise of Muluzi while the DPP were praising President Peter Mutharika and Nankhumwa.
Later at the rally which the two ministers addressed at Mchoka Primary School ground, the supporters for the two parties sat in two different places, visibly not comfortable to be together, a thing which prompted Nankhumwa to intervene but to no avail.
“The President wants Malawians to remain united to foster socioeconomic development in the country. You all know that I am a DPP member and Honourable Muluzi is UDF but we are all working under the leadership of President Mutharika.
We encourage you also to work together. And because of that I could have loved if you could have stayed together here,” said Nankhumwa But the supporters from both camps openly shouted in disapproval, showing displeasure with the seating arrangement which the minister was proposing, such that they both took turns in singing songs mocking each other.
And when Muluzi took his turn to speak, he called upon all Malawians to remain united despite political affiliation, saying 51 years after independence, there is no need for the country to be divided. But when UDF supporters stood to sing in between Muluzi’s speech, DPP supporters also stood and started sing songs in praise of Mutharika.
Noticing danger, Muluzi quelled the tension with some jokes as some security personnel were seen trying to separate the two camps.
“I know you miss dancing and singing so much. If it were not for this government function I could have joined you in dance,” said Muluzi while the supporters were being separated.
Since UDF and DPP announced their working relationship, there has been a lot of discontent among supporters from both camps, especially in the eastern region, a thing senior officials from both parties describe as normal considering that not all people can accept change.
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