I can’t remember exactly who described Bakili Muluzi ten year rule as the “lost decade.” But someone did.
The decade was not only marked by wanton abuse of public resources, organised crime, corruption and the runningdown of government owned companies, it was also characterised by the “state sponsored” terror by its Youth Wing called the Young Democrats.
Those of age enough to remember would recall how this notorious Young Democrats terrorised innocent Malawians whose only sins was holding contrary opinion to President Muluzi.
At the height of Atcheya’s rule the Young Democrats inflicted pain to so many people. People were beaten in broad day light in the presence of the police and the police were powerless to bring them to order for they were the law and the law was them.
When the Bakili Muluzi reign came to an end in 2004 it also marked the end of the dark phase in the democratic Malawi.
But when we thought the UDF goons were gone forever and never to be seen again, the tale of the infamous dinosaurs, the Young Democrats have resurfaced again. This time around they are back to preserve what is left of the Muluzi dynasty.
Barely five months after he announced that he had quit politics to concentrate on business and will be relocating to the United Kingdom, Atupele Muluzi is back in the contry and news has it that he is demanding that Mai Lilian Patel should hand over power to him. But it appears that the Young Muluzi is pursuing a futile mission as Mrs Patel has gained ground and is not willing to step aside.
Seeing that he is facing resistance from the veteran politician, Atupele has resorted to use the intimidation tactics. Rumours has it that Atupele has for past two months being calling Mai Patel directly demanding that she relinquish power but mai Patel has not burged.
Now Atupele has engaged his Young Democrats to deal with Mai Patel and they have since been threatening her through WhatsApp messages and direct calls.
In an audion clip circulating in UDF fora, man identified as Lenzo has sworn to do whatever it takes to force Mai Patel step down so that Atupele continues leading the party.
He said: “As peopple who genuinely love the Muluzi family we will do everything to protect that family. We can sacrifice our lives if need be for the sake of them. If Mai Patel will not step down we will force her untill she relinquishes the position.”
Another man said if Mai Patel wants leadership she should form her own party and let Atupele continue where he stopped.
“We are surprised that Mai Patel is refusing to relinquish power now that Atupele is back from his sabbatical leave. If mai Patel harbours leadership ambitions the best she is free to form her own party.We cannot accept her as our leader as long as Atupele is alive. ,”* said another member of the Young Democrat.
Patel is not the only one facing threats. Everyone deemed or who is associating with Mai Patel has been facing death threats. One of them is Hasheem Amla Banda, the current Vice President of Eastern Region. Another of Atupele’s boys said he is prepared to get out of the way if Amla continues blocking Atupele’s come back.
“We will not allow you block Atupele’s come back. It is better that you die than entertaining your stubbornness,” he said.
The UDF’s relevance on the political scene has been fading since it was thrown to the opposition in 2005 and this leadership squabbles may just spell further doom for the once mighty ruling party.