Two opposition members of parliament have obtained a High court injunction, successfully blocking the government from selling farm machinery it bought using a K76.6 billion it obtained from a bank in India.
Dedza east MP Juliana Lunguzi and Lilongwe South West MP Peter Chakwantha, both opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) legislators argued that past experience has shown that the government sell such items to the rich, the powerful and influential politicians And other people with connections to the ruling elite.
The loan was obtained from Import Bank of India for OVOP project but the government now says the machinery is not ideal for small scale farmers hence the need to sell them off.
“These people are lying. Before a loan is obtained, experts were supposed to make a feasibility study on the need for such machinery. They were convinced that the machinery was right for smallholder farmers through OVOP,” Lunguzi said angrily after successfully obtaining the temporary order for government to halt the sale of the machinery.
She said this was another form of “cashgate” when government was selling off government property to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cronies at give away prices.
She said just a few months ago, the government sold 177 tractors which it bought with a loan from a similar Indian Bank.
“The tractors were sold off at very give away prices, very cheap to the ruling party elite or those with connections to the ruling party elite,” Lunguzi said.
Chakwantha said the two legislators have risked their lives for the good of Malawi in order to force the government be transparent and accountable to its people, the people they govern.
He said this is the exact reason a section of the society is demanding Access to Information Act.
Government conceded it sold the tractors to the rich, the powerful and influential people including minister of Foreign Affairs Francis Kasaira, Mulli Brothers and Speaker Richard Msowoya.