Katsonga under NASAF fire for ‘copying’ farming tractor agenda

National Salvation Front (NASAF) has described Peoples Progressive Movement (PPM) president Mark Katsionga as an empty headed presidential candidate who dreams to run government in 2014 without original ideas and instead is busy stealing such from other candidates.

NASAF secretary general Lester Chikoya fumed at Katsonga in an interview with Nyasa Times that the PPM leader does not deserve to be president of the country because he has no plans and “he is just wasting his time and resources doing campaign.”

Chikoya’s outbursts came following Katsonga’s speeches at recent rallies where he echoed NASAF’s part of manifesto as his original idea.

Katsonga at Salea Primary School in Salima a few days ago spoke of empowering farmers with tractors to do away with the hoe. The tractor issue was first raised by NASAF president James Nyondo who argued that Malawi cannot continue to depend on the hoe as the main farming tool after 50 years of independence.

Mark Katsonga: Accused of being copy-cat
Nyondo: NASAF first introduced the issue

Nyondo was quoted at the time that he had already found donors and institutions in America that were ready to link with Malawian farmers and business people and even scholars.

Katsonga preached the same manifesto in Salima.

Said Katsonga : “I am shocked that Malawi is still poor despite attaining independence 50 years ago. What does independence mean to Malawians if they still have back pains that originate because of using a hoe for farming when their counterparts in modern countries are using modern means of cultivation.”

But  NASAF secretary general Chikoya trimmed Katsonga to size: “Presidential candidates should be original. How can voters trust such leaders with their votes when they do not have any agenda for the country? I feel sorry for PPM followers because they do not know what they are following. Their leader has no original agenda; he is just copying from other leaders. That is big shame. Introduction of tractors is NASAF agenda and Malawians know that.

“Mr. Katsonga should stop this nonsense of stealing ideas from other leaders and advance them as his own. He is simply de-campaigning himself. NASAF does not want to be pulled too far by Mr. Katsonga.”

At the time Nyondo said that through the Alabama-Malawi Investment Partnership Council, he will introduce Agriculture Mechanization-Tractor Initiative where tractors will be distributed to farmers at a club level across the country to do away with a hoe as the major tool of farming after 50 years of independence.

“A tractor can make a difference to farmers. It can do many things including reducing labour, work, can be done within a short period and there can be increase in productivity,” he said.

He said for a long time, 50 years since independence, Malawi is still facing a lot of socio-economic challenges like blackouts, health problems, water and food shortages. The nation’s poverty levels are still high.

“Since 1964, the United States of America (USA) and other donors have been assisting Malawi financially but the funds have not done the intended purposes. We want to bring change through the partnership and make a People to People engagement rather than through government to government,” said Nyondo.

Nyondo said the tractors will be introduced at farmers’ club level and the first phase of the launch will take place Thursday.

“NASAF want to empower people directly, People to People is Nasaf’s agenda for Malawi. We have seen that Government to Government has not provided people’s desires. We want to stop donor dependency syndrome,” he said.

Nyondo said the clubs will be ready from May 20 2014 and the farmers will pay some little money for the tractors.

USA-based Alabama-Malawi Investment Partnership Council’s Chief Executive Officer Andy Barr leading a team of US delegation comprising of doctors, businessmen, said through the partnership, there will be transformation of the people’s lives because the assistance will reach them directly.

“There will be direct connections between people of Malawi and America in Agriculture, business, health among others,” he said.

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