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Malawi fresh presidential elections; Bakili Muluzi will damage Mutharika’s bid

(from left) Peter Mutharika and Bakili Muluzi

By Clement Chinoko

There can be no argument that former president Bakili Muluzi is the master of pursuasion. Even the most powerful opposition leaders, well known for being principled, fell prey to his magical tongue.

The list is long but late Chakufwa Chihana and Gwanda Chakuamba, more than anyone, stand out. Until the day they shook hands with the devil, they were men of great restraint or pretended to be.

Anyway, time, as they say, is a savage. It always wins.

Today, Muluzi is no longer that handsome figure of the old. His health has declined, age is catching up with him and, most crucially, he is not in control of the levers of power.

Nonetheless, his fading shadow still commands political influence. If you seek solid proof, the appointment of his son Atupele as president Peter Mutharika’s runningmate clearly is.

And, it doesn’t end here.

The young Muluzi announced recently that his father will join the campaign trail after Ramadhan, possibly this month end.

Bringing ‘Atcheya’ back is, in my opinion, a dangerous political miscalculation.

In the eyes of cautious voters, the move will show that Mutharika has lost self-confidence hence sandwiching himself between the Muluzis: a spent force and his son who could not retain a parliamentary seat last year.

Truth be told, Muluzi’s presidency was rudderless, punctuated by lethargic strategies and uncoordinated policies. Some, quite precisely, refer to it as a lost decade.

It is therefore not strange that UDF’s popularity has been declining each passing electoral year. After amassing 52% in 1999, it got 36% in 2004. In 2014 the party took 17% and 4% of the vote last year.

Other than that, Muluzi, unlike his son, has many skeletons in his cupboard. I can bet, without any doubt, that the opposition leaders are already salivating at his potential second coming.

Currently, claims of the former leader’s past underhand dealings are circulating speedily on social media with late Dr Kalonga Stambuli’s dossier, which details his alleged corrupt tricks, a forceful punch.

When the nation is deep into the campaign season, the opposition will surely turn him into an epicentre of ridicule–and worse.

That, as everyone can guess, will dent the DPP/UDF alliance which, at the moment, is devoid of spark and direction.

Currently, Mutharika is hanging onto his job by his fingernails and Muluzi–everything considered–is the last man he needs.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the writer’s, they do not reflect the views of The Maravi Post

Maravi Post Author
Maravi Post Author
Today's Opinion · Op-Ed Columnists · Editorials · Op-Ed Contributors to the Maravi Post· The Maravi Post accepts opinion essays on any topic. Published pieces typically run from 400 to 1,200 words, but drafts of any length within the bounds of reason will be considered.


  1. Whilst your argument is somewhat right, you are wrong to say DPP-UDF alliance is lacking spark and has no direction. Atupele has energised the alliance and everywhere he is going multitudes are turning up. Because of what Chakwera and Chilima did (chasing people from the south, destroying property) some people are uninterested with the TONSE alliance – seeing it as violence more so with Mtambo headlining its rallies. The TONSE alliance yatutumuka because they never thought the young Muluzi has such magnetic appeal. I know of people who registered but did not feel compelled enough to go and vote – they are going to vote in this election.

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