Split imminent in Malawi’s UDF over support for Banda’s party

There is confusion in the UDF camp. It has emerged that the party’s legislators have taken different positions on how to support the ruling party of President Joyce Banda.

The UDF is credited for defeating late dictator Kamuzu Banda in the first popular elections which ushered in a multi party system of government more than 20 years ago.

On Wednesday morning the party’s Chief Whip Dr. Clement told journalists a press conference that the party has not been swallowed by President Banda’s People’s Party (PP), saying their support to Banda is only in Parliament and not outside the House.

Chiwaya made the announcement in the absence of two influential UDF parliamentarians and the only ministers appointed in Banda’s cabinet;
Machinga North East MP Atupele Muluzi and Mangochi North MP Ibrahim Matola said they were not aware of Chwaya’s statements and the press briefing.

“UDF has not lost its identity and will continue its existence with
its fully fledged structures both inside and outside Parliament. UDF
will continue to hold its rallies throughout the country with the
primary intention of consolidating its support base as was the case
before it joined government,” said Chiwaya in a statement.

Asked whether UDF will field a presidential candidate to contest
against Banda in 2014 elections, Chiwaya said the party’s convention
will decide whether to go into a coalition with any party or field a

But Muluzi, son to former President and leading presidential aspirant in the party said: “I am hearing about the press conference from you.”

“That’s not the impression I have,” Muluzi said when asked whether UDF’s position is only to work with government inside parliament and not outside the House.

Matola also said he was not aware of the press conference and said
Chiwaya was better placed to comment on why they were not present at
the press conference. Chiwaya said all UDF MPs are working as a unit
and liaising with government on where they wanted changes