Presidential aspirant Atupele Muluzi, son of former president of Malawi, Bakili Muluzi, has demanded a corruption investigation into the country’s fertiliser subsidy programme, saying organised crime and corruption is undermining its potential benefits for the poor.
Speaking on Sunday at Mulanje Limbuli, near the Malawi border with Mozambique, the Machinga North East parliamentarian claimed the fertiliser subsidy programme has increased avenues for corruption in Malawi.
“We have been travelling throughout the country and we have noticed there are problems, serious problems. There is high level of corruption on fertiliser subisidy programme,” said the younger Muluzi. “It is benefitting the rich not the poor.”
Atupele expressed concern that poor people are made to access the commodity at a higher price of K3 000 ($17) per 50 kilogramme instead of the recommended K500 ($3) .
He demanded a probe into the scheme, saying many poor farmers who were given coupons to purchase the subsidised fertiliser have not managed to buy the commodity.
The fertiliser subsidy programme launched in 2005 to help boost Malawi’s food self-reliance capacity, offers fertiliser to poor farmers at a considerably lower rate than market value.
The programme has been heralded as a successful pro-poor strategy. However, corruption is undermining its potential benefits for the poor.
Atupele, who was on a whistle-stop political tour, told crowds at Mulanje Limbuli that he was selling his ‘agenda for change’, saying the current regime should not underestimate the desire of Malawians to change.
“We want change in politics, change in the way we create wealth and delivery services in education, health and infrastructural development,” said the 33-year-old presidential aspirant.
“We want to be moving in a direction of change,” he emphasised.
“My role is to open a new door of opportunity for Malawi, especially for the young people; the unemployed youth, the women and men,” said Atupele.
The legislator said the elders have also a role to play in the change agenda.
“I strongly believe that the older generation are custodians of our history, they understand the past. This is where they should be advising us,” he said.
“The world is changing, Africa is changing; we need inclusive approach with new ideas, new thinking merged with the wisdom of the older generation,” Atupele stressed.
The presidential hopeful said he will unveil “the programme of change” project this year.
“This will be a plan of what we want to change in 2014; it will be centred on wealth creation, job creation, housing and unemployment among other priority areas,” he said.
Atupele said he was confident that ; “Things in 2014 are going to change and change indeed is coming.”
He noted that national interest has been sacrificed for political expediency and as a result the frontiers of poverty and hopelessness have increased and not diminished.
“We all know that Malawi is at the crossroads and a better day is awaiting it,” he said.
He called on people to support his change project, saying “the urgency of change cannot be overstated, as is the need to find a viable vehicle for delivering such transformation.”
Atupele said Malawi need new energetic leadership that can deliver the kind of economic revival, national reconciliation and stability, emphasising on democracy, good governance and respect for the rule of law.
He called for masses to unite and fight for a common cause.
“No change will come out of its own. Together we can make a difference and construct a new garment of change fortressed by a common thread of hope,” he said.
On his way to Mulanje, Atupele survived an ‘assassination’ plot by ruling DPP gang led by Lewis Ngalande when they ambushed his convoy of motorcade at Bvumbwe Trading center in Thyolo.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :