Mulli Brothers Limited managing director Leston Mulli has said he is disappointed that the leadership of United Transformation Movement (UTM) ganged up at their weekend rallies to attack him, saying he is a hardworking businessman and employer of hundreds of Malawians wh should not be dragged in petty politics.
Mulli said UTM leadership including vice president Saulso Chilima attacked him among other things on short-changing smallholder farmers in Nandolo (pigeon peas) crop buying them at a lower prices and he will be selling on higher prices at State produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) .
President Peter Mutharika recently directed Admarc to buy pigeon peas at K230 per kilogramme (kg) .
“I did not buy Nandolo because the prices were down. Why accusing me, why always Mulli,” said the Phalombe tycoon.
“Why pointing fingers at me. Is it because I am black? What about other people who have bought Nandolo, why are you not talk about them, is it because they are foreigners?”
Mulli challenged anyone to check in all his warehouses for the crop to prove that he is not hoarding it.
“I am not a stealer [thief]. I just do business. I am just shrewed businessman hence people always are jealous with me,” Mulli, who is also Mulhako wa Alhomwe chairperson, said in an interview aired on Times Radio and TV.
His remarks of “stealer” triggered a debate on social media, with other Malawians suggested Mulli had murdered the Queen’s language.
One Facebook user Mzindi Lungu argued that a thief is the word used for someone who is commiting a crime by stealing something. Stealer is informal and can be used in situations like ‘boyfriend-stealer’ (an informal, made-up word) or other less criminal instances of theft such as ‘sandwich-stealer!’
He wrote that the word “thief” is a noun, which refers to a person who steals. The word “steal” is a verb, which refers to a person taking something without the owner’s permission. There is no such noun as “stealer” nor a verb such as “to thieve.” Therefore, “a thief steals things” makes sense but to say “a stealer thieves things” does not.
Business commentator and newspaper columnist Aubrey Mchulu argued that the biggest loser in the whole Nandol deal is the smallholder farmer who is helplessly watching the vendors or ‘middlemen’ who bought the crop from them for a song pushing truckloads to Admarc markets.
“I smell a conspiracy where ‘big boys’, in the name of the poor farmer in Nyezelera, Phalombe, are engaging in some sort of organised crime to siphon public funds by way of laundering through Admarc. How else can one explain this?” wrote the columnist.
Picture this true story, he continued to write: “A peasant farmer sold her nandolo to a vendor at K40/kg only three weeks ago. She sold 26.5 bags each weighing 50 kg at K2 000/bag and earned a paltry K53 000. The vendor, obviously a ‘big boy’, is selling the same to Admarc at K230/kg or K11 500/50kg bag, making a cool K9 500 profit from each bag. If this is not a raw deal (‘theft by tricks’) then what is?
He urged authorities to be making decisions “that are for the general good of all and sundry, not a few chosen few”, saying farmers should be motivated and rewarded through competitive prices, based on market forces.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :