Maldeco Fisheries re-opens with strict conditions

Maldeco Fisheries company has announced the resumption of operations with some conditions attached.

Announcing the re-opening, the company’s board members said there will be no longer fish sales at the market but instead the new sales and distribution outlet will be established in Mangochi town.

The company was temporarily closed early last month following political interference in its operations.

Maldeco’s board members said they had closed it because of unwarranted pressure and harassment of the company’s top management officials by the ruling party members.

The management had cited an incident whereby Maldeco’s management was summoned for several meetings with ruling DDP officials to explain its reluctance to allow the party officials to visit the premises.

Maldeco Fisheries management said, “On October 6, 2011, the General Manager [Ken Mthuzi] received a call from the DPP, from regional governor-eastern division, advising him that a couple of government ministers were to visit Maldeco Fisheries on Sunday, 9th October, after which the said ministers would hold a mass rally at the same company premises.”

The company has also been accused of defying the party’s order to start selling fish to the vendors a move which Maldeco management says was in respect of the interest of the company.

In August, irate fish vendors torched and broke into the company’s building in protest against the company’s refusal to bow down to their demand of selling fish at a price dictated by the vendors themselves.

Maldeco is a subsidiary company of Press Corporation Limited (PCL), which had ben managed by late former head of state Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda. However, when Malawi’s political system changed from single-party rule to a multiparty system in 1994, former ruling party the United Democratic Front (UDF) under Bakili Muluzi used parliamentary powers to get the company from Dr Banda to be under the state. However, controversy arose recently when the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) intervened in the management of the company.

The company is facing ernomous pressure from government which is trying to win support in the Eastern Region deemed to hold more followes of Vice President Joyce Banda.

This is not the first time that Malawian politicians have interfered in the affairs of government companies and parastatals. Some of the companies are making huge losses because politicians use their assets such as cars and buildings for political purposes.

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