Kapito condemns JB maize handouts at political rallies

Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) has bemoaned President Joyce Banda’s continued maize handouts at political rallies, describing the tendency as shameful and abuse of consumer rights.

Cama’s utterance comes at a time when the country’s main grain marketer, Agricultural Development, Corporation and Marketing (Admarc) is rationing maize due to short supply and inorder to beat lean period in which food demand escalates.

Surprisingly, President Joyce Banda boasts of having hoard of grain and is not disclosing where it was sourced despite calls by political and civil society groupings.

Kapito: Shameful handouts
Kapito: Shameful handouts

In a statement made available to Nyasa Times and signed by Cama’s executive Director, John Kapito, condemned President Banda’s phobia to use maize as a political campaign tool thereby subjecting poor Malawians to a lot of humiliation and disrespect.

“Consumers Association of Malawi wishes to reiterate its concern regarding the continued use of maize handouts at political rallies. President Joyce Banda during her term as Chairperson of Admarc used the very same maize for her campaign that left Admarc markets at that time with no supply of maize,” complained Kapito.

Kapito added: “And a lot of Malawians died of hunger during the period while she went around distributing the very same maize from Admarc to her followers. We find her continued use of Maize during her current campaigns a very sad development”.

Cama boss further hit at Banda for failing to disclose where she gets her maize from at a time when national distribution centres do not have the commodity.

“Malawians know that in the last five years before she came into power Malawi had huge stocks of maize and during the lean period prices of maize were the lowest. Why does maize become scarce and unaffordable when President Banda is at the helm of leadership either as Chairperson of Admarc or as a President of Malawi?

“Why does she continue to use maize as a campaign tool when so many Malawians are dying of hunger because they cannot find the maize on the market? Why does the President Ransom maize for votes against their right to food? We believe that the role to ensure that the country has adequate maize and food at all times must be the responsibility of the State and not an individual even if that person is a State President,” argued Kapito.

The human rights activist argued Malawians want maize availability in the markets at affordable prices and not handouts at political rallies that only benefits the few and followers of a certain party.

“We have recommended that Malawi has strong well established structures where Maize can be distributed to all, and these structures are found throughout the country. Time has come for Malawians to condemn the practice irrespective whether the practice is done by a State President or not”.

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