Consumer Association of Malawi (Cama) Executive Director, John Kapito has blamed President, Joyce Banda for influencing the increase of maize prices on the market through her continuous sentiments on hunger situation in the country.
Private traders are currently selling maize at between K4, 000 and K4, 500, higher than government set price of K3, 000 offered at Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) depots.
President Banda has been distributing maize and flour across the country following reports that about two million people are currently experiencing hunger.
In an exclusive interview with Nyasa Times, Kapito said Banda’s comments on hunger situation are creating confusion and tension on the market, resulting into price rise and artificial maize shortage.
”Her political sentiments are dictating prices on the market. Prices were stable until the President publically disclosed her buying her maize at K4, 500, that forced to inflate the price,” said the consumer advocate.
“Some traders have started hoarding maize with aim of making a kill in January or February when hunger situation is at peak, thereby creating artificial shortage. As long as the President continue to make political statement about hunger, there will be confusion on the market,” Kapito said.
Kapito further blamed President Banda and her followers for buying maize in bulks, thereby influencing shortage on the market.
”It has now become unbearable when the President and her followers are sweeping up the grain for her charity. There is very little we can do as consumer rights watchdog to control the situation as long as these political sentiments continue dictating prices on the market,” he said.
But in response, government defended President Banda’s comments on hunger, saying the Malawi leader only say the truth based on what is happening in the country.
Government spokesperson and Minister of Information and Civic Education, Moses Kunkuyu then demanded Kapito to come up with evidence on claims that Banda was cleaning up maize on the market for her charity work.
”Statements made by leaders do not in any way influence prices on the market,” said Kunkuyu.
“What the President is saying about hunger is actual truth; it’s a reflection of what is on the ground. As government we will ensure maize is always available in all Admarc depots and is sold at set price of K3, 000. That is only way we can defeat the inflated prices offered by private traders,” said Kunkuyu.
President Banda has been facing accusations, especially from political foes, on her food handouts and that her government is exaggerating the food situation in the country.
But she argues it is her responsibility as a president to see to it that people have food.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :