Cracks emerge in DPP-UDF working relationship

Atupele Muluzi, Peter Mutharika

Cracks have emerged in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and United Democratic Front (UDF) working relationship as UDF wants its leader Atupele Muluzi to be appointed second vice president of Malawi.

The two parties work together in Parliament but there have been talks to extend their relationship to outside the House ahead of the 2019 elections.

According to published reports, during their discussions, UDF demanded the appointment of Atupele Muluzi as second vice president and the party to have five ministers in President Peter Mutharika’s cabinet.

UDF also wants the DPP to make assurances that it will not feature any candidate in Machinga and Mangochi and two constituencies in Zomba – areas which are UDF strongholds.

“They had formed a team of three members from each side. UDF wants the second vice-presidency now and five ministers in the Cabinet as well as the running mate position sealed and that President Peter Mutharika must sign for it,” a person privy to the discussions told a local newspaper.

The ruling DPP accepted to appoint five UDF members as ministers but wanted the second vice presidency to be given after the general elections and not now.

Following the parties’ discussions, Mutharika appointed a new cabinet in which he retained Muluzi as Minister of Health but did not appoint any other UDF member.

The development forced the UDF to cancel the talks.

Commenting on the issue, UDF publicity secretary Ken Ndanga said UDF has not been approached by any party regarding an electoral alliance and is at liberty to work with any party, not just the DPP.

“We have always heard about those reports but now it’s about four or five years people have talked about UDF being swallowed, all sorts of things, we just watch the truth of the matter that there is nothing like an alliance, if they’ll be an alliance, we will make it public,” he said.