In a classic you-fooled-me-once-now-you-want-to-fool-me-again outplay, United Democratic Front (UDF) President, Atupele Muluzi, has met President Peter Mutharika at the New State House in Lilongwe where the two agreed to strategise on the 50+1 majority vote law ahead of the Constitutional Court sanctioned fresh elections due in five months time.
President Mutharik and Atupele Muluzi: Get back together
According g to a source privy to the discussions, the two parties agreed to do everything in their power, using their parliamentary numbers, to stop Parliament from ratifying and creating a framework for the implementation of the 50+1 law, following a judgement by the Constitutional Court judgement on 3rd February 2020.
"Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is so agitated and scared of the 50+1 majority requirement because the party knows its loss at the fresh election is as good as sealed if this law is ratified. The top brass in the party is aware that the party will not stand a chance against its two main rivals, MCP and UTM, which is why they are treating the current situation as a red level crisis. This is the reason why the first point of call is to stop the 50+1 law from happening, and it is for this reason why Mutharika invited Aupele to State House on Friday," said the source.
UDF president's meeting with Mutharika comes just days after sticking a pact with MCP president Lazarus Chakwera.
Insiders said Atupele has met Mutharika after the famous picture of him posing with Chakwera in Lilongwe where they announced a 'working relationship'.
Already, Atupele, son of the former President Bakili Muluzi. has told his members of Parliament of the renewed political romance with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
He is said to have told the MPs that the 50+1 law is not in UDF's best interest and that the only way forward is to vote it down.
Three UDF MPs who attended the meeting confirmed in separate interviews of the new deal for their leader.
A DPP insider also confirmed Atupele is working with them.
According to DPP sources, the two discussed and agreed that Atupele should support a motion by the MPs to ask Speaker of the National Assembly, Catherine Gotani Hara, to bring the issue to a vote in the plenary for its adoption or rejection, whereupon UDF and DPP MPs will torpedo the motion down like they did the last time it came to Parliament.
Meanwhile, the UDF MPs are also not happy with Atupele's zigg-zagg attitude of jumping from one partner to another and also of negotiating coalitions and alliances without thorough consultations with his party.
Said the source: "The UDF MPs are planning to call for an emergency meeting with the party's National Executive Committee (NEC) where they want to demand comprehensive TORs of the new agreement which Atupele is planning to fashion with Mutharika this time around. The general feeling within the party is that the UDF should look for other partners and not DPP because the ruling party comprehensively fooled them prior to the May 2019 elections, including plotting Atupele's downfall in his constituency."
Since he came back from his academic sojourn in China, Atupele Muluzi seems to have been on a frantic search for political partners. Only a few weeks ago, the mainstream and social media were awash with pictures of Atupele shaking hands with MCP President, Lazarus Chakwera apparently after a 'fruitful' meeting. This meeting with Mutharika also comes on the heels of a rumour that UDF is negotiating an alliance with UTM, where Atupele will be running-mate to Saulos Chilima in the forthcoming fresh elections.
It is also not clear whether this sitting of Parliament will actually vote for the adoption of the 50+1 law which Mutharika and Atupele are banking on so that their MPs should defeat the implementation at a vote. According to Gotani Hara, this sitting is merely meant to create a framework for the implementation of the 50+1 'majority' law, not to make it law because it is already there in our laws as per the Constitutional Court judgement.