Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) boss John Kapito has blamed President Joyce Banda for emptying national maize silos thereby creating hunger in the country.
Kapito has since asked President Banda to explain as to where she is getting the maize she is distributing to impoverished people.
The consumer advocate and fierce critic of government in an interview wondered how the President is able to have maize when the country’s grain marketer, Admarc has run out of staple- food with reports indicating the national silos are short of supply.
Thousands of people are spending days on queues at Admarc depots just to buy maize which is being rationed.
Currently maize is fetching high prices on parallel market with a 50 kg bag sold at K10, 000.
”It’s pathetic that the President is empting the silos and is using the maize for her 2014 campaign when people are struggling to access it at Admarc. She has created hunger and now the country is at pain,” Kapito said.
“The President despite being challenged by her own Ministry of Agriculture, the Donor Community and Civil Society Organisations that are conversant with the current maize stocks in the country has continued to create alarms that Malawi has no stocks of maize and there is hunger in the country and thereby pushing up the prices of maize,” said Kapit.
Asked to justify his claims, Kapito asked Banda to come out in open and explain where she is getting the grain she is distributing for free to the needy.
Banda is on record claiming she is sourcing the grain using her own resource.
She claimed: ”It’s my maize and I will not retire from going around helping the needy. Those who are against it are just jealous. Let them buy their own maize and distribute it for free”.
Kapito said: ”If she claims it’s her maize, let her show us receipts or tell us where she is buying the maize because we know she is getting it from our silos. Kodi analima kuti? [Where did she cultivate the maize] She has empted the silos now people are on hunger”.
“The current maize shortages are artificial as the President has run out of ideas on key issues that would maintain her in office,” said Kapito, adding “And creating hunger is her last resort where she believes that by distributing free maize when she has created artificial scarcity and hunger that will make her a good and caring leader.”
CAMA boss has since asked Parliament to take President Banda to task to explain where the reserved maize in national silos has gone.
”The previous administration was considerate. It ensured that by this time of a year there is maize in Admarc. And we never experienced what we are witnessing now”.
He added: “Malawians must remember the current scarcity and high prices of maize also happened between 2001 and 2003 when the current President Joyce Banda was then the Chairperson of ADMARC, and she created similar shortages and high prices and she has a liking for using maize shortages and high prices for her personal political gain and at that time she was the biggest vendor of maize.”
There was no immediate response from government.
Meanwhile, a highly powered delegation from Food and Agriculture Organization, (FAO) and European Union (EU) which was in the country said on Thursday that Malawi’s hunger situation would be under control this year.
“The hunger situation in the country is, in my opinion, under control,” EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs, told reporters at Kamuzu International Air Port (KIA) in Lilongwe.
“I believe that what I have seen and discussed with farmers is very encouraging and we leave the country very impressed,” Piebalgs pointed out.
FAO Director General, Jose Graziano Da Silva said their interaction with President Banda, farmers and various stakeholders gave them an assurance that Malawi was a country on a move towards food sustainability.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :