Vice President Dr Saulos Chilima was on Tuesday mobbed by thousands of chanting supporters of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Ntcheu when he presided over the handover ceremony of parboiled rice by the Chinese government to Malawi government.
The DPP supporters chanted in reaction to a Chilima-for-President crusade that is gaining support and possibly turn into a movement.
“Adadi abwera! Kuti wawawa! Adadi abwera! Kuti wawawa! Zivute zitani tiri pambuyo pa Chilima (Our father has come! Come rain or sunshine we are behind Chilima.)”
The Ntcheu incident happened a day after some DPP members stormed Chilima’s residence in the capital city to ask him to stand as member of Parliament (MP) for Lilongwe City Centre.
Chilima has recently come under spotlight following remarks by former First Lady Callista Mutharika that the Vice President should be DPP’s presidential candidate in 2019 polls.
The Vice President has not commented on the matter.
In his remarks at Ntcheu, he said government is making all efforts to ensure that no one dies of hunger in the country.
The Vice President, who is also Minister responsible for Disaster Affairs, said government is aware that some quarters in the country are facing food deficit this year, hence engaging into various efforts to ensure that all those in need have something to eat.
“The 2017 food security assessment report by the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee projected about one million people as requiring relief food assistance during the lean season, from December 2017 to March 2018.
“Following the report, government through DoDMA developed the 2017/ 2018 Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Plan to mobilize resources and coordinate the implementation of humanitarian response. MVAC recommended the humanitarian response to be implemented through cash transfer to enable household to purchase the food package at their local markets starting from December, 2017 to March 2018 depending on severity,” the Vice President explained.
Chilima observed that the donated rice would partly contribute towards addressing the food shortage resulting from the infestation of the fall army worm, natural disasters among other factors, which contributed to low production of maize in 2017 and consequent food insecurity.
He pointed out that some parts of Malawi have experienced chronic food insecurity for the past three consecutive years, a development he said forced government to make tremendous efforts to graduate the country from chronic food insecurity.
The Vice President added that government was step up interventions that would make the country pro-active in managing and dealing with various disasters.
“To this extent, government has developed a National Resilience Strategy to harmonize implementation and coordination of resilience building initiatives and programmes by various stakeholders in the country,” he said.
Chilima commended the Chinese government for the rice donation, which he said will complement government’s efforts in the 2017/2018 Food Insecurity Response Programme that rolled out in December, 2017.
He said it was pleasing to note that this was not the first time for the Chinese Government to assist Malawi with food supplies.
“China also assisted us with over 6,500 metric tonnes during the 2016/2017 consumption year when over 6.7 million people were food insecure. Just recently, at the start of the 2017/2018 rain season, the Chinese Government also donated two hi-tech drones to DoDMA to assist with disaster assessments and response in the country,” he said.
Apart from the food items, the Chinese Government also facilitated implementation of community based disaster management projects through the small grants scheme.
Chilima called upon officials that will be involved in the distribution of the rice to uphold principles of transparency and accountability when distributing the rice.
Chinese Ambassador Shi-Ting Wang said his country is always ready to support the country with emergency food items in times of disasters.
“Malawi is a disaster prone country and as a friend, our government is always ready to support in times of need, hence this donation today,” he stated.
China donated 3,270 metric tonnes of parboiled rice for distribution to food insecure households in the ten districts so as to cushion the suffering of the people in the affected areas.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :