Malawi Pres. Banda threatens to sue activist Kapito on hunger claims

Malawi President Joyce Banda has threatened to sue consumer rights activist John Kapito over remarks he made that the country’s current maize scarcity is her creation.

The Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) boss blamed President Banda of creating the hunger situation so that she should be distributing the maize to needy people in order to gain cheap political mileage ahead of 2014 elections.

The consumer advocate and fierce government critic also challenged President Banda to tell the nation where she gets the maize that she distributes to impoverished people.

But Presidential Press Secretary Steve Nhlane said Friday the president was concerned with Kapito’s allegations and has consulted her lawyers to handle the issue.

President Joyce Banda: To sue

President Joyce Banda: To sue

“The President is concerned with the seriousness of the issue that Mr Kapito has raised against her…To that effect she has engaged her lawyers to look into the matter because she thinks it’s very unfair for anybody to come out from nowhere and just make baseless allegations against her,” he said.

While Kapito claims the President is taking government maize from the national silos, the state house has declared that the maize was being bought from Farmers World.

Said Nhlane: “She has been buying this maize from Farmers World and everything that she has bought has been receipted and this is maize that you can see bears her name on it and the bags are branded.”

He said besides the undisclosed number of maize bags bought from Farmers World, 10 000 other maize bags she distributed were raised by the Presidential Committee on Poverty and Hunger Reduction she set up a few months ago through a fundraising exercise.

It was not explained how the committee raised the 10000 bags and from where.

Nhlane also revealed that the maize flour President Banda had been distributing was being bought from Rab Processors Limited and just like the maize, she has receipts for the purchases.

Meanwhile, Nhlane has said the president will institute thorough investigations on the maize scarcity issue that has unbelievably seen a 50kg bag now swinging between K10 000 and K12 000.

“The president wants a thorough investigation into the whole issue of maize perhaps people don’t understand what is happening. She will involve all the people who can come up and explain how the whole issue of maize is being handled,” he explained.

But the  presidential spokesman could not say when the investigations into the matter would start.

Starving Malawians continue to express surprise with the president’s silence to make a directive so that relevant authorities release the staple food from the storage facilities and have price stabilize.

While the President is able to have the maize and distribute to the needy people the country’s grain marketer, ADMARC, has reportedly run out of commodity.

Tens of hundreds of hungry Malawians are spending days and nights at ADMARC selling depots across the country just to buy a 10kg portion of maize which is being rationed.

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