Atupele Muluzi is one fine guy. Friendly to all at times he is apolitical. He can find a common language where others would have liked friction.
The sad thing though is that, politically Atupele is a spent force. A politician who has outlived his usefulness.
Saying this is not being harsh on the good young Muluzi, because it’s the truth. I know UDF supporters may be hurt by this truth because of the love they have for Atu. But that is just because they are in denial in the face of the glaring reality that their leader is no longer a political factor.
For the record, his father lives on a broken legacy from his ten-year rule [dubbed as the lost decade] which is one of many reasons many Malawians do not want to give his son (Atupele) the benefit of doubt.
His father’s mistakes notwithstanding, Atupele himself as his own man is a failed politician and a disaster of a leader the United Democratic Front has had.
This is not being opinionated but factual.As the saying goes; men and women can lie but numbers do not, the argument that Atu has been atrocious can best be explained by numbers.
The UDF has seen its worst days under Atupele. With the help of what was left in his father’s name, Atupele stormed the political scene with a bit of grace and was seen by the youths as the future of Malawi politics heading into the 2014 tripartite elections.
Campaigning on the promise of wanting to change the way we do our politics through his ‘Agenda for Change’ theme, he received some goodwill from some Malawians as they regarded him as a “breath of new air”. In that election Atupele polled slightly over 700,000 votes representing 13% the national vote and he came a distant fourth. The party managed to win 14 parliamentary seats which meant the figure dropped by 3 from 17 won in 2009 elections.
The 2009 elections the UDF formed an electoral alliance with MCP, so the only election we can measure Atupele’s performance was the 2004 one which Bingu won with well over 1 million votes. In that election UDF managed to get 49 parliamentary seats.
In 2019 elections which was eventually annulled by the Constitutional Courts, the results indicated that Atupele garnered slightly over 200,000 votes representing 4% and they only managed to win 10 seats in Parliament.
This meant Atupele failed to retain the support of almost 500, 000 and in parliamentary election the number shrunk further with four seats. Even worse was the fact that Atupele was dealt a devastating blow having lost his Machinga East constituency to a political novice Alhaj Kalitendele.
So, describing Atupele this maybe hurtful but this is the only wat to describe his political failures.
For avoidance of doubt, let’s see where the UDF came from. At the height of its fame, the UDF polled over 2 million votes under the leadership of Atupele’s father (Bakili) representing 52% in the 1999 general election and swept 94 parliamentary seats, probably the second best ever by a party behind the landmark 114 won by the Democratic Progressive Party in 2009 elections. From these facts it is not wrong to say that the young Muluzi only made the party worse.
Now that he has managed to kill his father’s party, Atupele has ditched it to start another futile project, a copycat of William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza whose foundation was the coming together of parliamentarians from different political fronts.
Atupele ditched the UDF, a ship he sunk to stand on a neutral ground in a Kenya Kwanza fashion but he is forgetting some facts. The difference between him and Ruto is that the Kenyan politician had what it takes to attract others to join him owing to his pedigree to start from a scratch and work his way up.
He had absolute goodwill from other parties.
Atupele is different, he is carrying the baggage of failure with him. Apart from the facts presented here Atupele has his father’s demons to exorcise as it stands.
It will take a miracle to get rid of this from people’s minds.