Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I have had dull days since Mitt Romney lost the election but news that Atupele has tendered his resignation as cabinet minister has brought me back to my feet.

Having read the story on Nyasatimes I quickly browsed through some of the comments and realized that there is an anomaly in how we are looking at this occurence. It is a fact that no names were mentioned but due to the obvious choices we have made to look at the issue with names attached to it, so be it.

For starters, Atupele might be admired by many people as a young man who started his politics at a very tender age. Thanks to his father, Bakili, a politician with one of the most fascinating biographies not yet documented.

My grandfather borrowed him a bicycle inflator (pump) outside Chipiku store at Mitundu Trading Centre long ago. This time he was a court clerk at Nsinja Traditional Court. Decades later the man would become probably Malawi's richest man and a decade later with a K1.7 billion corruption case hanging over his head.

However, in our selective perception, we fail to sympathize with one Thengo Maloya (cabinet minister in Bakili Muluzi's government) who was told point blank by the Senior Muluzi that he had two choices to make; give up his parliamentary seat for Machinga North East to pave way for Atupele; in return he was to take up a diplomatic post in Tokyo or face Atupele at the elections without Bakili's support. (We have inside information that Thengo had no chance to say a word and he ceded for the "Love in Tokyo" tagline.

If you still doubt Muluzi's bulldozing of issues then remember the 2003 scenario when he as State President addressed the nation to inform them about what the UDF NEC had deliberated in regards to succession issues (Don't worry or be surprised about Muluzi the State President addressing the nation about party matters; that's just how cunning the man is for you).

With pride he told the nation that the NEC meeting had voted on who was going to become UDF candidate and they had settled for Bingu wa Mutharika who had ammased 54 votes beating Aleke Banda who got 0 votes (yes 0) and Harry Thomson who also had a zero.

Bingu was to have his own pill of Muluzi's bulldozing in regards to Atupele in 2004. Do you remember how "Mose wa Dzulo" delayed for almost a month to announce his cabinet? We hear he was given a list by Bakili which included Atupele's name. (That's how early Muluzi wanted his son to become prominent)

My take on this whole issue is that the young man should now detach himself from the maze that his father continues to create for him. If he is serious about becoming an accomplished politician, he has to learn to become unMuluzi in the way politics is played Kapoloma style.

Can the young Muluzi convince us if really his father had no hand in pushing Friday Jumbe and cronies to the peripherals of UDF business?

Those who choose not to see Bakili's fingerprint in UDF mess are doing so out of sheer ignorance or utter denial. Why then should all the UDF troubles just come to an end just because Atupele has triumphed? Do you think had Moses Dossi won there would have been peace in that yellow camp? It just had to be Atupele at all cost, it just had to be him winning that contest.

Now two week after his son has ascended to the mantle in the party, Bakili finds himself in another battlefront. He starts mobilizing UDF legislators and other members to cut the pie for Atupele towards 2014 (it seems the boy cannot even hold a knife on his own for such a task)

The mistake that Bakili makes is to hint that Atupele's support should come from from the Eastern Region for obvious reasons.

When we are enjoying our sleep, UDF members are going round homes to mobilize what they call the Yao and muslim votes for Atupele. The party is even going to the extreme to tell the moslem community that per religious requirements it is not right for a woman to rule any institution. (Isn't this the same primitive thinking we try to uproot day in day out?)

As National Chair Atupele should know the tricks and tactics being used by his party in the Eastern Region (Mangochi and Machinga to be precise). Trust me Atupele knows what is going on only that he is employing Bakili's tactics; remain silent while others fight your battles.

With all this backbiting, do we seriouly expect that Atupele should find the comfort in government when his father is trying to play his usual tricks?

Now that Bakili has his wish granted and Atupele is UDF National Chair, time has come for the young man to tread alone for sometime because if he continues to lean on his father's tactics then he will end up fighting unnecessary battles.

Muluzi was a proud father in 1978 when Atupele was born, over the years he has held his hand and taught him the ropes of life. Along the way, innocent people have been bruised and hurt. May be time has come for other politicians to say no more to Bakili's dirty games.

I just hope the resignation letter was not written by Bakili himself. You never know.

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