Some opposition UDF members have been holding secret meetings in Lilongwe to topple their president Atupele Muluzi claiming they are tired with his leadership style.
The members also said they want to detach the UDF from the Muluzi family, arguing that the link has damaged the party.
Malawi News traced some of the schemers who confessed that they are tired of Muluzi’s management style and they need change.
They are bitter that Muluzi, son to former president
Bakili Muluzi, was making crucial decisions concerning the party without consulting the National Executive Committee (Nec).
However, the plotters say since they are still planning the bloodless coup, they refused to disclose their identities for fear of reprisals.
“As members of the UDF, we are concerned with the conduct of Muluzi. His working relationship with senior party leaders has deteriorated since last year’s elections. It is only two or three people who know what he is doing in the party. One of the developments is his appointment as cabinet minister last year,” said
one of the disgruntled members, in the company of seven others.
“As bona fide members of the party, we feel the appointment was not done in good faith as it will continue weakening the party. We feel the first step to take is to find ways of detaching this party from the Muluzi’s family.”
Another member of the grouping said they are currently mobilising support for Muluzi’s ouster from all structures of the party before calling for a mini convention to remove him.
The members also observed that since 2014 Presidential and Parliamentary and Local Government Elections there have been no major activities in the party and that it has not paid its elections monitors.
“Monitors in the Central Region have not been paid. Our leader was supposed to look into this issue,” said another member of the grouping.
UDF regional secretary for the Central Region, Innocent Masache, confirmed that the party was yet to pay its monitors.
“Monitors have not yet been paid. Some of them have been asking us when they are going to get the money. I don’t have the actual numbers but I heard the issue,” Masache said.
UDF vice president (Centre), Iqbal Omar, whose relationship with some of the party’s leaders has not been rosy, distanced himself from the plot to oust Muluzi.
“I don’t know anything about that. As the party’s vice president, I am busy running party affairs, assisting our president. I know the president is also assisting the people of Malawi but we cannot just sit idle. So far, I have conducted 34 public meetings in the Central Region. I’m busy strengthening the party so that come 2019 it is strong enough to win elections. If there are those developments, ask the party’s supporters,” Omar said.
He, however, admitted that in his meetings he has met supporters who worked as party monitors complaining of not being paid their dues.
“There were some people complaining that they were not paid their money for working as monitors. But that was not my responsibility during the elections. I had been assigned other roles,” Omar said.
There was no immediate response from Muluzi as we went to press despite sending him a questionnaire.
However, the party’s secretary general, Kandi Padambo, said it was not possible to oust duly elected party leaders.
“UDF follows tenets of democracy. Under our constitution, people are elected to all Nec positions at a convention. They can only cease to be holders of those positions if they resign. If there are issues about any position holder, a disciplinary committee looks into them and makes recommendations to the whole Nec. Without those procedures, no person can be removed from his or her position,” Padambo said.
He also dismissed allegations that the party has not been consulting its membership on the decisions.
“The party has structures it consults. Whatever the Nec has decided, trickles down to those leaders,” Padambo said.
On monitors, Padambo said the party agreed with all the candidates to pay their monitors.
“You may recall that the party paid nominations fees for our candidates in Local Government and Parliamentary elections. But it was agreed that the candidates would pay the monitors. For instance, I paid my monitors,” he said.
On Tuesday, cracks emerged in UDF when Balaka North parliamentarian, Lucius Banda, refused to join his colleagues on the government benches in the National Assembly.
Banda said it was not necessary for him to move to the government benches.
This also came amid protests from Mangochi UDF party supporters who razed down their flags in protest to the conduct of their MPs in the National Assembly.
Meanwhile, political analyst, Blessings Chinsinga, has described the developments in the UDF party as ‘not surprising’.
“This is not surprising. Our political parties are not democratic. They are owned by individuals. From the onset, it was clear that by joining cabinet, Atupele was serving his own interest. It’s clear that the decision was not made by Nec, that is why there is no unity of direction, no unity of purpose. This is just a script replaying itself,” Chinsinga said.
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