Malawi govt insists JB to continue free food distribution

Malawi government is assuring people in the country that it will continue to distribute the country’s staple food maize to the vulnerable and needy who are hit by food shortages.

According to the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee report of October 2012, there are about 2 million Malawians facing hunger in this country.

Information and Civic Education Minister Moses Kunkuyu says in a statement  made available to Nyasa Times that this is due to many reasons including overblown maize production estimates from the previous administration, inadequate, erratic and delayed onset of last year’s rains.

“Added to this, some families were not able to produce enough food for themselves even after benefitting from the fertilizer subsidy programme,” says Kunkuyu.

President Banda in food distribution exercise

He says it is on this basis government believes there is urgent need to rescue the concerned families from the hunger situation.

“This becomes even more urgent now because we are approaching the 2012/2013 growing season and if the concerned families do not have food of their own, they will spend most of their time and energy looking for food instead of working in their fields to be in a better situation next year”.

The information minster reveals that as a result  government  is doing all it can to get adequate food to the concerned families the soonest by pursuing many methods “including usage of the maize that may be in our strategic reserves” and engaging development partners on the matter.

“We would like to call upon all well wishing Malawians, organizations and institutions to support and follow the good example set by Government and Her Excellency Mrs Joyce Banda”.

President Banda has of late embarked on what critics describes as “personalized and politicized maize distribution exercise” to   the rural needy whose bags are bearing the name of the president.

For example representatives of the Public Affairs Committee asked President Banda at the meeting with her  held Wednesday at Sanjika Palace in the commercial capital Blantyre to refrain from handing the maize distribution exercise with political gloves to avoid denting her personal image.

“We note that you are distributing food in the villages.  This is a brilliant initiative.  We  know  that  you  are  a champion  on  charitable  work . No doubt about this. However, now you are a State President.  As  you  do charitable  work people  have  different  perceptions  on  the  way  you  are  distributing  food.

“People feel that it is being politicized. There  is  yet  another  perception  that  the  state  resources  may  be  used during  the  distribution  exercise.

“We  are  not  saying  that  you  are  doing  a  bad  job  in  Malawi  but  perhaps  you  need  to  adequately  explain to  Malawians, and  indeed  tread carefully  so  that  you  do not  dent  your  image,” said Bishop Montfort Sitima who was speaking as the leader of the delegation .

Sitima suggested that it  would  be  better  if  she  identified  alternative  ways  of   giving  charitable  food.

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