The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has demanded the resignation of the Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Lobin Lowe, accusing him of reducing the number of Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) without consulting President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera.
CDEDI executive director Sylvester Namiwa argues that the ‘unilateral decision’ Lowe made has made Malawians lose millions of kwacha through an exercise Directors of Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources undertook to delete names of one million farmers from the list of beneficiaries.
“It is a known fact that taxpayers’ money was used to undertake this very costly exercise, in the form of fuel, stationery, and allowances. Effectively, one million beneficiaries were deleted from the initial 3.7 million, recorded in the 2020/2021 growing season, bringing down the figure to 2.7 million in the 2021/2022 farming season,” says Namiwa in a statement issued on Wednesday.
He claimed that findings of an investigation CDEDI conducted established that all the district councils responded promptly, by moving into the scaling down exercise, where the number of beneficiaries in some villages was trimmed to six farming families only.
However, the organization was surprised to hear President Chakwera publicly reversing the decision of his minister thereby giving an impression that the President was not party to the directive, and neither was he consulted on the matter.
“Now that we know the scaling down exercise was not sanctioned by President Chakwera, then Malawians are justified to say that you made a unilateral decision, which has cost the taxpayers huge sums of money.
“In all fairness, sir, you should have resigned immediately after the public address was made by Dr. Chakwera, since his remarks smelt a vote of no confidence in you as the responsible Minister of Agriculture.
“This has also soiled your credibility in the eyes of the district council authorities, who will be hesitant to abide by any instructions from your office, in future, hence the more reason CDEDI is calling for your resignation, in a bid to protect your integrity,” reads the statement Namiwa has signed.
He gave Lowe seven (7) days to either make publicly, a detailed statement, justifying your decision to scale down the number of AIP beneficiaries, and indicating how much the exercise has cost Malawians, or step-down, to save himself from shame and further embarrassment following his “lack of knowledge on government protocols and procedures”.
Namiwa warned that failure by Lowe to comply with the demand will leave CDEDI with no option, but to invoke the Access to Information Act, to ensure that the citizens, who double as taxpayers, have the right to access this public information, without undue hindrance, as evidence that will help them to push for your resignation.
Lowe did not pick our calls when we sought his reaction to the demand for his resignation.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :