Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, George Chaponda, has provoked fury in Malawi by ridiculing poor people by saying that the Peter Mutharika government is happy that maize price in Admarc markets is high and that Malawians are shunning the selling points.
Chaponda told a news conference in Lilongwe oo update the public on the food situation in the country that government was happy that poor people preferring to buy from private traders because Admarc prices are higher than private , saying:“That’s exactly what we wanted. That is competition.”
Chaponda added: “The private traders will exhaust their stocks and the people will buy from Admarc. I don’t think the traders have enough stocks.”
But Malawi’s flagship daily newspaper, The Daily Times on Friday condemned Chaponda’s remarks as insentive.
“Mind your language, sir,” reads a title of an editorial comment in the daily.
The paper said it is “unpardonable sin” to insult the poor and the hungry, saying Chaponda has just committed that sin and that he prides himself for that.
It says Chaponda should have used appropriate words than mocking the poor.
“Everyone who still has humanity in them will appreciate and accept that Malawians are not happy with the hiked maize price not because they do not understand why government decided to hike maize price at Admarc, but because most of them cannot afford to buy maize. In simple terms, government is punishing its own poor peole,” reads the editorial comment.
It noted that Admarc has alway been the saviour of the poor people from the fortune-seeking private traders but that by raising maize prices, “life is hell for the poor Malawians.”
The paper faulted Chaponda for “celebrating maize hike”, saying he is “gloating over people’s misfortune.”
The daily called Chaponda’s remarks as “ regrettable hubris.”
“Instead of beong happy the minister should be regretting that he and the government he is in have failed to make life easier for poor Malawians,” the comment said.
Chaponda has been advised to stop being foul mouthed when Malawians are hungry, pointing out that hungry people are always angry.
Meanwhile, Chaponda told journalist that number of people requiring food assistance until the start of the next harvest has risen from 6.5 million to 6.7 million.
“After the first phase, it was discovered that 6.5 million people are food insecure, but recently Mvac conducted another study and discovered an additional 200 000 food insecure people,” said Chaponda.
However, Chaponda assured the nation that there is enough maize to take the country up to March next year.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :