Malawi President warns corrupt chiefs: ‘I will deal with you!’

Malawi President Mrs Joyce Banda has warned traditional rulers against corruption, especially in the implementation of farm input subsidy programme, warning that she will crack down on the corrupt.

Banda was speaking on Thursday at Mtalimanja Village in T/A Chakhaza Dowa, when she presided over the graduation ceremony of 29 families (58 students) who have completed a two-year agriculture course at the School of Agriculture for Family Independence (SAFI).

President Banda said a lack of culture of transparency and accountability can destroy the nation.

She warned that traditional leaders found in corrupt practices will be arrested and stripped of their chieftaincy.

President Mrs Joyce Banda

“I know of one chief down Southern Region who listed his family and relatives as beneficiaries of the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP), but I am hereby warning that I will deal with him,” said Banda.

President Banda  also announced the T/A Dzoole to Senior Chief and Sub-T/A Chakhaza to a full Traditional Authority (T/A).

“I wish to announce that I love working with and will always reward development-oriented chiefs and I hereby announce that with effective from today, T/A Dzoole is now elevated to Senior Chief, likewise, Sub-T/A Chakhaza is now a full T/A,” said Banda amid ululation from a mammoth of people that witnessed the event.

Graduation

Turning to the graduating families, President Banda called upon them to share the skills they have acquired at SAFI with fellow villagers in their communities to ensure food security at household levels.

In his remarks, SAFI vice Board Chairperson Professor George Kanyama Phiri said the Institution will work hand in hand with government to complement the newly launched Presidential Initiative on Hunger and Poverty Reduction.

“Hunger, regardless of the form it takes, is a disgrace to any nation and SAFI will work in tandem with the initiative towards the liberation of the nation from the Yoke of food insecurity and hunger,” said Kanyama Phiri.

During the ceremony, the family of Mr. and Mrs. Kalemba emerged outstanding in Field work whereas Agatha and her husband Redson Nkhata walked tall for scooping the best family/students in class work award.

SAFI, which runs a two-year programme, during which a family is requested to relocate to its campus for a year, followed by field work at the families’ own farms in the second year, was established in 2007 with funding from Nu Skin, an American organisation with an aim of providing practical training in modern agricultural and natural resources management technologies for sustainable food security and income.

Since its establishment, the school has graduated 94 families (180 students). The first cohort of 34 families graduated in June 2009 while the second one of 31 families graduated in October 2011.

The institution among others, engages in teaching farmers in crop and livestock production, small scale irrigation, fish farming, nutrition and human health.

According to SAFI’S Board Secretary Moses Khombe, the school’s annual livestock and farm produce accounts to US$ 50,000 which is also used in running the institution.–(Additional reporting by Chipiliro Khamula, Malawi News Agency)

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