"It's shameful that the UDF party wants to take us back to the dark days,"

Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Former NDA leader now UDF member Brown Mpinganjira casts doubt on UDF comeback
by Isaac Masingati, 21 January 2006 - 03:07:40

UDF executive member and potential presidential candidate for 2009 general elections Brown Mpinganjira has cast a shadow of doubt over the party’s chances of winning the next elections saying the party needs to do a lot of rebuilding, a view shared by a political analyst.Mpinganjira also told Weekend Nation in an exclusive interview in Blantyre on Wednesday, he was not “too sure he wants to be the party’s presidential candidate”.Mpinganjira said President Bingu wa Mutharika’s resignations from UDF IN 2004 followed by defections of many prominent party members to DPP had put the UDF in a state of shock that requires immediate stitching if the party is to succeed in 2009.He said UDF had failed to regroup fast enough to strategise soon after Mutharika’s departure, a development he said would make it difficult for the party to stand the competitions.“We should have gone back to the people to seek fresh mandate. We are instead just patching up [the gaps]. This will not solve problems,” said Mpinganjira.The former NDA president said the recent defections and switch of allegiance to DPP by some of the party’s members had contributed to the weakening of the party in some areas. Mpinganjira, however, said a party of UDF’s calibre should be able to stand up and bounce back to its old self saying what will matter will be the party’s strength and ability to attract members of credibility and integrity.He also said a properly held national convention could help rebuild the party and eventually come up with a popular presidential candidate who would take it to 2009 elections.“As things are now, there is a long way to go because we do not even know when we have the next convention,” said Mpinganjira.Asked to comment on his aspirations to lead the ship as its 2009 presidential candidate, Mpinganjira said he was not sure he has such ambitions.Said he: “I don’t think I am too sure I want to be the party’s presidential candidate.”He could also not confirm reports that he is moving to either the Malawi Congress Party or the DPP only saying he would like to maintain his current position as an independent member of Parliament.Asked to express his feelings about media reports that New Republican Party president Gwanda Chakuamba wants to join the UDF as president, Mpinganjira said if he were to leave the party it would not be because of Chakuamba.He, however, said such media reports make members unsure of their positions in the party and their loyalty to it.Said Mpinganjira: “You ask yourself ‘what is in it for me? Is my battle worth it? One then makes a decision.”He could not also comment on the recently announced UDF shadow cabinet which has conspicuously left out all members of his defunct NDA claiming he had not yet been briefed of the cabinet as he had just arrived from abroad.While condemning resignations of people from the party, Mpinganjira said the debate that has arisen within the party due to the political shake-up was healthy and that it had exposed people’s true feelings about party developments.In a separate interview, Chancellor College political science lecturer Boniface Dulani said the party will struggle to make a mark in any coming elections citing internal politicking.Dulani said the party had been “ravaged by lack of internal democracy” which he said had rendered its structures vulnerable to defections citing the imposition of President Mutharika as its 2004 candidate and eventual defections of its senior members.“They have to go back for soul-searching otherwise the road does not look any good,” said Dulani.

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