..MP’s, CDEDI, MCP anonymous cry for stable food
…State House officials selling maize to feed makers-MP.
Four million Malawians are facing critical food shortages and the government is yet to release any single grain from the strategic reserve, a development that has irked members of parliament, civic groups, and even ruling Malawi Congress Party officials now writing anonymous messages.
Parliamentarians led by Chairperson of Agriculture committee Sameer Suleiman grilled Minister Responsible Sam Kawale telling him to deliver maize to the starving people than making empty statements.
“Madame Speaker all we want is for the Minister of Agriculture to tell us when will Admarc open its markets to stabilise the maize prices for people. People in cyclone-hit areas need maize. People in your constituency Madam Speaker need maize as well,” said Suleiman.
Speaker Catherine Hara Gotani had to intervene when Suleiman alleged that “State House officials are selling maize to feed makers when Malawians are starving.” The Speaker asked him to withdraw or present evidence.
But Suleiman insisted, “I will bring evidence when they promise to do something about it. In this country, people steal 14 trucks of maize and are still walking free because they belong or are connected to the ruling party.”
Suleiman promised to bring evidence to the House the same Friday.
The Centre for Democracy and Economic Initiatives (CDEDI) is mobilising Malawians on Wednesday to hold a protest vigil to force the Ministry of Agriculture and Parliament to move towards releasing maize across the country to stabilise maize prices.
“Since food is life and those holding key to maize accessibility and affordability can afford a 50-kilogram bag at any given price, and more importantly, this government has mastered the art of taking Malawians for granted, CDEDI is calling upon Malawians threatened by exorbitant maize prices to camp at parliament,” charged CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa.
MCP members in a text circulating claim the Ministry of Agriculture has failed to manage the process and it was time President Lazarus Chakwera changed leaders at the Office of President and Cabinet, Agriculture, and within party structures.
The text written in Chichewa says, “Nyumba ya malamulo idavomeleza ndalama zopeleka Ku Bungwe la Admarc kuti ligule mbewu Kwa alimi mpaka Pano palibe chomwe chinachitika. Bwana Purezidenti zikuoneka kuti anduna woyang’anila zamalimidwe ntchito yawakulira kwambiri Ndipo mavuto omwe Ali kumeneko kukufunika kusintha mwansanga popeza ngati sitikonza Vuto lakukanika kutumiza Chimanga Ku Admarc komanso ndondomeko ya Feteleza Ife nkhani ya mavoti tiyiwale. Anthu ndiwokwiya kwambiri ndimene dongosolo lake linayendela Chaka Chatha komanso kunika kuwagula alimi mbewu Ndipo unduwanu siunabwele poyela kufotokoza chomwe chikuvuta.”
Maize prices are now above K30,000 in most places but hard to reach districts such as Nsanje and some parts of Thyolo have hit K48 000 to K55 000.