After what appeared to be a promising presidential bid based on ‘agenda for change ’ or ‘ung’ono ung’ono politics’, the road for Atupele Muluzi and that of the UDF seemed to have ended back at BCA Hill-the residence of retired president Bakili Muluzi and where the yellow political outfit makes its crucial decisions.
The poshy residence is also where the ‘Atcheya Academy of Political Engineering’ operates from.
One of the graduates of this academy is of course Atupele, who was thrown into the political stage to contest for the opulent Sanjika and Kamuzu palaces, even though chances of winning were at zero.
But in politics, judging from the way Malawian politicians behave, I find it amazing that politicians think it’s better to believe in yourself even though you might appear to be stupid.
So, Atupele, after a promising campaign and some tough talk, flopped.
His political survival depended on his parliamentary seat, and in opposition, for five years. That, as the MCP has found out, is a long time to be in opposition. The future of the yellow party was not known—to stay in opposition for five years it’s quite a hell of time.
So the Atcheya academy opened classes to allow only one student: Atupele. The topic: How to survive in opposition and be minister at the same time.
It could have taken only a phone call for Atcheya to meet the new President Peter Mutharika, whose win in the chaotic poll of May 20 is still being mouthy—and not legally- contested by the MCP, a fact which may prove to be a waste of time unless they prove otherwise that his win was a fluke.
Atcheya is probably the only politician who can warm your heart with his smile and humour. You see Atcheya, you see a human being, a joyous person who can chat on anything and make you feel good. That’s the Atcheya magic.
So, likely, Peter could have welcomed the Atcheya call to meet. They surely met, of course such meetings happen at night. I don’t know who could have started the topic, but let’s take Peter for a start.
He could have told the senior Muluzi that “I am president to day because I owe it to you—you picked my brother and made him president. If you had not done that and picked any of the politicians from the ‘madeya’ group, I could not be here as president. My brother also picked me after frustrating Amayi and other DPP potentials.”
“I can do anything for you. What happened between you and Bingu should be forgotten. Forgive my brother. I am here for you; I can do anything for you.”
Then Atcheya, in his usual humour, could have cleared his throat, and said:” Give Atupele a ministerial position. He needs to gather some experience. Malawians still think he is a baby politically. We will find ways of convincing the party why he has joined government. You need support; after all you don’t have enough MPs in parliament.”
Peter could have responded: “Leave that in my hands. I am the president and I make decisions when it comes to appointing the cabinet. Be assured that Atupele will be in cabinet. Consider that done. As I have said, I am president today because of you.”
A smiling Muluzi could have thanked Peter, saying “the late Bingu was my best friend. He was the economic engineer, that’s why I chose him to lead the UDF. Let’s forget what happened in the past.”
They hugged and bade farewell. Immediately, Atcheya summoned Atupele to BCA to tell him the “good news.”
So when you are a graduate from the Atcheya Academy, you don’t have to tell anyone in your party why you have joined the government.
You pull one yarn after the other, telling Malawians that you are a patriotic citizen and you want to serve only your citizens as a minister.
And only stupid Malawians can believe you. Fortunately, not many Malawians are that stupid these days.
What’s the future for UDF?
Atupele’s answer could have as well had been: “What future? The future is here and today as minister of natural resources, energy and mining. What do you do with 600,000 votes after that promising ‘Agenda for Change’ campaign? You can’t eat 600,000 votes.
“I need to gather experience as a minister, I need to grow up, you cannot become a president without being a minister first. My time is not now, my time is after 10 years, probably in 2024.That’s the time ‘Agenda for Change’ will be possible.”
Atupele is not a ‘madeya’—that’s for sure. He is a graduate of the Atcheya Academy of Political Engineering. Not many have gone through this Academy.
Like father, like son. Dzuka Malawi!
*Achikulire is a senior columnist for The Maravi Post, and this article is solely a property of this publication. It can only be reproduced with due acknowledgement to this publication — Editor.