President Joyce Banda has said she will not be stampeded into accepting demands by Members of Parliament (MPs) for the implementation of their 2008 request to have their fuel allowances pegged at 500 litres a month.
The MPs also want all their arrears dating back to 2009 when the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s regime challenged the legislators’ demands in court.
Calculated at the present petrol pump price of K704.30, it means each MP will be getting a fuel allowance of K352 150 translating to K4 225 800 per year per MP.
But President Banda said on Monday the legislatures demand through a task force of Edwin Banda of Malawi Congress Party, Nick Masebo of Democratic Progressive Party, Anderson Undani of People’s Party and Mahamudu Lali of United Democratic Front is “unrealistic” owing to the ailing economy.
Speaking at Mudi Primary School ground in the area of Traditional Authority Makata in Blantyre after a crop inspection and agriculture diversification projects tour, President Banda challenged that she will not be bulldozed into accepting their demands, even if it means the lawmakers sabotaging her government’s business in the National Assembly
“Atavutike adziwika chifukwa ngakhale akuchita zonsezi ine ndine Pulezidenti wa dziko anandisankha ndi anthu (We are yet to see who suffers with what they are planning because I am the president of the country elected by the people),” said President Banda.
She added: “The economy of Malawi is in a mess and MPs should not expect to receive K10 million each because there are a lot of people living in desperate conditions and need the money more. What is the justification for MPs to receive such huge amounts of money when most Malawians are food insecure and living in poverty?”
Lawmaker for the constituency, Henry Dama Phoya (HDP) was not present at the rally, but President Banda said he was left to take care of government business in Parlaiment as Leader of the House.
Commenting on her first ever crop inspection tour which used to be the country’s first head of state Ngwazi Kamuzu Banda’s trade mark in his 31-year reign, the Malawi leader urged farmers in the country to step up diversification efforts for the nation to sustain food security.
“What I have seen today makes me speak with confidence that we are on the right track as far as food production is concerned,” she said.
“All we need is that our farmers should revert to the system of diversification because that makes them food secure,” added President Banda
She said it remains her administration’s commitment to find valuable markets for the country’s farm produce which she said as government will not relent to secure for the farmers’ benefit.
President Banda suggested that farmer in the country should start planting twice per year if the nation was to attain food security.
Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Professor Peter Mwanza commended the President’s tour observing that unlike the previous administrations, she has shown commitment to food security by inspecting both crops and animal production.
Kamuzu launched the crop inspection tours as a means of encouraging farmers and assess the crop situation in the country.
But after sometime Kamuzu and his Malawi Congress Party (MCP) started using the tours as a political platform and also as a means of fundraising for the party through contribution in form of presents given to the former leader wherever he went.
Late president Bingu wa Mutharika adopted the crop inspection tours in his first term but later aborted it.–(Additional reporting by Malawi News Agency)Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :