United Democratic Front clarifies Parliament shift
The United Democratic Front (UDF) secretariat has said the party arrived at the decision to move its members of Parliament (MPs) from the opposition to government benches in Parliament to ensure that there is no disconnection between the legislators and the party leader.
Last year, the party’s leader, Atupele Muluzi, joined the first Cabinet of President Peter Mutharika as Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining before being moved to Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security in a recent reshuffle.
And the ongoing budget meeting of Parliament has seen the UDF MPs moving to the government benches after the party sought the Speaker’s permission for its legislators to leave the opposition benches.
However, the move did not go down well with some party members, including UDF leader in the house, Lucius Banda, who made an independent decision to continue sitting on the opposition benches.
In a statement from the office of the party’s General Secretary, the party also said the decision was made for the benefit of the nation and not an individual as some quarters have been saying.
“The rationale behind it is to make sure that there should not be a disconnect (sic) between the members of Parliament and the party leader. The decision was, therefore, made in the spirit of nation building by the party and not any individual person as it is being portrayed in the media,” the statement, which party spokesperson Ken Ndanga released yesterday, reads.
The party said before implementing the decision, it went through the consultation process which involved the National Executive Committee, MPs and regional and district committes during regional conferences in Lilongwe, Balaka and Blantyre.
“It must be emphasised that no decision on the matter was made behind the back of the UDF leadership in Parliament. It [consultations] was for the reason that the decision has taken this long before it was implemented,” the statement reads.
In the statement, the party has also advised the party members as well as the general public to disregard any assertion made by anybody to the contrary, urging members to desist from making comments that have the potential to cause confusion in the party through the media.
“However, as a party that believes in democracy, we will not stifle debate on the matter by members as long as it is done with civility and within the party structures,” the statement said.
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