United Democratic Front (UDF) members of parliament have thrown their full weight behind party president Atupele Muluzi in serving the Cabinet and the party’s working alliance with the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of President Peter Mutharika.
UDF chief whip Lilian Patel with President Mutharika as Atupele Muluzi looks on
The UDF MPs addressed a news conference in Lilongwe on Thursday led by their parliamentary chief whip Lilian Patel to “reaffirm” the position of the party in the National Assembly.
She said of late there have been a number of “ misleading statements” in the media about the commitment of the members of the UDF to government.
“Throughout the 2014 election campaign, our party campaigned on 3 core principles. Restoring Credibility to the Malawi Economy Post Cashgate; Economic Growth, and jobs for the youth; and Protection of the poor and the vulnerable within our society,” said Patel.
Patel said “ a democratic decision “ was taken by all the MPs in UDF to take a seat with the Government.
“This was to stabilise the Government in order to assist in restoring credibility in the economy, and with the recent resumption of direct budgetary support a great indicator of how we are moving things forward,” Patel, a former Foreign Affairs Minister, said.
“As Members of Parliament from the UDF party we have intentionally remained quiet as an attempt to keeping internal party issues, internal. However, we also feel that we have an obligation to defend our party when our unity and democratic purpose is put at risk,” added Patel.
She said UDF’s work within the government continues to “seek to stabilise and grow the economy to build jobs and protect the most vulnerable in our society. “
She said: “ This work has recently been recognised by two independent Members of Parliament who have now joined our ranks, Honourable Ester Jolobala of Machinga East and Honourable Justin Majawa of Mangochi South West. “
DPP and UDF have been in a working coalition—both inside and outside Parliament—since Mutharika drafted into his Cabinet UDF president Atupele Muluzi as Minister.
Patel said UDF members of parliament they have “full confidence” in the leadership of their party president Muluzi and “will continue to provide him our full support as leader of our party.”
She continued: “ We are now keen to move forward with the business of the House, and continuing to push our manifesto pledges of growing Malawi for all our families and its future.”
UDF secretary general Kandi Padambo in separate interview backed the Parliamentary working relationship with DPP, SAYING IT is beneficial to the party and to the nation.
“From the outset, we explained that such a relationship would ensure that programmes of the ruling party which have a commonality with those espoused by UDF will have a safe passage through the National Assembly. They will become the law of the land.
“Secondly, unnecessary tensions resulting from opposing for the sake of opposing can be harmful to society at large and should be minimised if not completely avoided. Social or political stability is very important. The benefit of our alliance must be seen more from that perspective and less from that of material benefits flowing to UDF and its leadership or members,” Padambo said.
According to Padambo, UDF has structures in all villages comprising a branch to the National Executive Committee (NEC) which are linked for dissemination of information, particularly decisions reached by higher level structures with duly delegated authority.
“I can confidently say that consultations were done with the grassroots through leaders of representative structures.
“By far, the overwhelming majority endorsed the parliamentary working relationship. Democracy seeks majority opinion not unanimity,” he said.