Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Four injured in debate over Atupele Muluzi

There was tension and drama at Lifidzi Market in Salima District yesterday, when traders turned against each other in a debate over the presidential candidature of former president, Bakili Muluzi's son, Atupele.
It all started when Yusuf Zanda, one of the fish sellers in the market, announced to friends around 9 O'clock in the morning that the United Democratic Front (UDF) National Committee (CEC)ndorsed Atupele for the party's 2014 presidency.
This, however, is not true because the party's NEC has not endorsed any individual for the position. In fact, UDF Task Force for Leadership Change and Convention chairperson, Ken Msonda, maintained yesterday that there would not have been any Taskforce had it been that UDF held its convention as stipulated in the party's constitution.
"And that means, it doesn't matter who gets the position; even if it is Atupele, the main issue is that we need a convention," said Msonda.
Msonda also brushed aside reports the fighters were part of the his task force.
"That is not true; our supporters are decent people," he said.
The fight among party members, which entailedr-all braw for almost 30 minutes, involved 15 people, four of which sustained serious injuries as Panga knives and table knives played the role of 'fast judges'.
There were no immediate deaths.
Reports have been rife that some UDF executive members are supporting Atupele for the party's presidential aspirant in 2014, the year Malawi will have another turn at the national polls.
The country last had Parliamentary and Presidential elections in May 2009, giving incumbent Bingu wa Mutharika another go at the head of government.
He is, however, barred from standing again in 2014, having satisfied the Constitutional provision of two consecutive five-year terms in office.
This has paved way for squables in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Two dominant groups have since emerged, one supporting Mutharika's younger brother Peter, while the other has settled for incumbent Vice President Joyce Banda.
State-run media, notably Malawi Broadcasting Corporation Radios 1 and 2 have settled for Peter, as evidenced by a barrage of pro-Peter campaigns, while Banda has but been forgotten or outright ignored.
In UDF, Acting party president Friday Jumbe is already running against mudy waters, with Lucius Banda and new calls for Atupele to join the fray being the latest developments.
When contacted to comment on the Lifidzi fight, Atupele professed ignorance.

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