BY GERALD NAMWAZA
13:03:29 - 07 April 2008
United Democratic Front (UDF) Sunday hired vehicles to ferry supporters
to Chikwawa to patronise Bakili Muluzi’s rally, a move analysts say is
aimed at intimidating the breakaway group of Vice-President Cassim
But UDF has denied ferrying the people, saying all those that went to Chikwawa were from the area.
The former president, who is nursing ambitions to rule the country for
a third term, is facing pressure from a breakaway UDF headed by
Chilumpha to cap his presidential ambitions and leave the baton of
power to new blood.
“What he is trying to do is to go to Chikwawa with people from as far
as Machinga and other areas to boost his image as a popular figure,
knowing very well that DPP is popular in that area,” said Nicholas
Dausi, DPP publicity secretary.
He said Muluzi knew that the area has strong and capable DPP MPs and people would shun his meeting.
“We have the likes of Sidik Mia, Clement Khembo and others who are very
popular in that area and he is now importing people just to create a
political quagmire but I can assure you his days are numbered,” Dausi
Dausi said what Muluzi was doing was to intimidate the Chilumpha camp with numbers ahead of the UDF April 24 convention.
But Sam Mpasu, who is spokesman of the Chilumpha camp, said Muluzi
would be wasting his time if he were wooing people to his rallies to
intimidate the Vice-President.
“It is common for political parties to ferry people to political
meetings and I don’t think we should connect the two because at the
convention it will be delegates who will vote and not just mere party
supporters,” Mpasu said.
A DDP member from Chikwawa, who identified himself as Samson Nyandoro,
said one of the trucks CK 675 was loaded with supporters from Mangochi
or Machinga judging from their accent.
“There is no way people from this area can support Muluzi. We are tired
of his tactics, we have our own Mose [President Bingu wa Mutharika] and
very powerful MPs here,” said Nyandoro.
He said some people would just go to the rally in the hope of getting handouts.
“Some people have heard that in Blantyre Muluzi gave out some money so
I know others, who are not even UDF supporters, will go there to
benefit,” he said.
But UDF deputy secretary general Hophmally Makande Sunday said there were no vehicles ferrying people to Chikwawa.
“I don’t think that is true, tell me the number plates of the vehicles,” he said before cutting the phone.
Muluzi last week ordered forced closure of Metro shop in Blantyre after he offered to pay for goods people had taken.
He later failed to pay the K21 million bill that came up, arguing that
it was bloated. The two parties are yet to agree on the final bill
after the contention.