JB defiant on maize hand-outs: ‘Muluzi was not stopped’

President Joyce Banda yesterday vowed to continue distributing maize to people despite concerns by human rights watchdogs, including the taxpayer-funded Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC).

Banda said this on Sunday at a developmental rally she held at Goliati Trading Centre in Thyolo District.

She wondered why some quarters were demanding that she should stop distributing maize to families affected by hunger, wondering why former president Bakili Muluzi was not stopped distributing maize without any disturbances when he was in power.

President Banda said she started distributing food aid way back before she became the Head of State.

President Banda distributing  maize in Thyolo

President Banda distributing maize in Thyolo

“I have been distributing maize for so many years, even last year I did, where were those stopping me from distributing maize and why stopping me this year,” wondered Banda.

MHRC last week reported the President’s People’s Party (PP) to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, saying it has politicised maize distribution.

“It raises the possibility of putting political priorities above fundamental human rights priorities with the underlying consequence that those that are not associated with the political grouping in question are most often left out,” said the report presented by commissioners the Reverend Zacc Kawalala and Marshal Chilenga, and executive secretary Grace Malera.

But President Banda said only Chiefs after discussing the matter that can stop her. She asked them (chiefs) to convene a meeting and decide.

She, therefore, said her government will make sure that the food should rich the intended beneficiaries regardless of political affiliation.

Banda said her government will continue with farm input programme and the Farm Input Loan Programme so that the country should continue having bumper yields as most areas have already indicated that people will harvest more.

However, Banda said shortage of land in other districts is also contributing to hunger as most families do not have enough land for cultivation.

She also said that government is working around the clock to ensure that there is a good flow of maize in all Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) depots in the country so that people should not panic.

“Two years ago people could spent days and nights waiting for maize in our Admarc deports, but that is not the case with my administration,” she said.

President Banda was at Goliati on Sunday to officially ‘switch on’ electricity at Chimaliro Health Centre following a request Senior Chief Chimaliro.

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