An 84-year-old granny in Phalombe was allegedly beaten last week for revealing to Agriculture officials in the district that names that had been registered ahead of the fertiliser subsidy coupons distribution were not necessarily those from her village.
Ethel Kungwimba from Gwembere Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Nkhumba’s area is alleged to have been beaten by the village head and other community members at Group Village Head (GVH) Namasoko headquarters where the people had gathered for the verification exercise by the district agricultural officials of beneficiaries for this year’s fertiliser subsidy coupons.
Nyasa Times sources reveal that the incident happened when the District Agriculture officials were calling names of the people to be registered.
Eventually after the granny had noted that most of the names were not from the village, she took courage to disclose to the officials that they were not members of her village.
At this moment, the officials had already received a tip-off that out of the 42 beneficiaries identified by the village head only 22 were from the village. After noticing a lot of anomalies in the verification exercise, the process was cancelled and the village will now have the fresh registration exercise at Phalombe District Commissioner’s (DC’s) Office.
The development did not go down well with the village head who happens to be the biological son to the granny. As they left the venue to his area, the granny was beaten and chased from the gathering.
Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) media networking officer Charles Banda said the organisation’s community-based facilitators who got the news responded immediately and reported the matter to Phalombe Police Station who confirmed the incident. The chief was arrested and released later on bail after a day.
YONECO with funding from Tilitonse is implementing a project in the area that is empowering community members to demand public services from their duty bearers. The project is also empowering community structures to question corrupt systems that infringe on their right to development.
He said through the trained community-based facilitators and animators, YONECO is following up on the case.
The Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) has for quite some time received a wide range of criticisms from various civil society organisations (CSOs) who claim that it does not benefit the intended people.
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