Minister of Information and Civic Education Patricia Kaliati has been accused of causing the temporary closure of Maldeco Fisheries because of her careless talk at a DPP political rally in Mangochi.
“On Sunday (9th October), Hon Kaliati, Minister of Information and Civic Education, Mr. [Francis] Mphepo, Political advisor to the President, Mr Kusweche, the DPP Regional Governor –Eastern Region, and other DPP Party officials held a political rally at Koche Primary School (very close to Maldeco) where, among other issues, they talked about the issue of fish vendors, which was in fact the subject matter of a destructive riot by the vendors against Maldeco Fisheries on August 2011,” a statement by Maldeco said.
Maldeco Fisheries — which falls under Foods and Company Limited, a subsidiary of Press Corporations Limited (PCL) —said at the DPP rally “several uncomplimentary remarks were made against Maldeco Fisheries in general and its General Manager in particular.”
At the end of the meeting, the vendors were told that Maldeco would sell to them fish “as they desired and they should turn up as early as 4.00 am the next morning to buy the fish.”
After the rally, Kaliati summoned Maldeco boss to her office.
In August vendors were dictating that Maldeco Fisheries should sell fish to them at prices they decide or else they threatened to demolish the premises. Maldeco Fisheries refused to bow down and the vendors indeed torched and broke into some buildings.
Maldeco Fisheries said it is at “pains to comprehend why it being a private company, is a good corporate citizen and a wholly owned subsidiary of the largest tax payer in the country Press Corporation Limited (PCL) and in good standing with the law, is being subjected to such unwarranted pressure and harassment.”
But Kaliati has dismissed the charges as baseless but confirmed she held the said meeting in Mangochi and that people complained about exorbitant prices of fish.
She accused Maldeco of “profiteering” from poor local traders.