Malawi: Dedza Chiefs Decry High Fertilizer Prices, Utm's Makuta Preaches Peaceful Campaign Ahead of By-Election

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27 September 2021

Chiefs in Dedza Central East have described the recent fertilizer hike price by Malawi Congress Party government under President Lazarus Chakwera as oppressive, unreasonable and a 'death sentence'.

They expressed the sentiments on Sunday, September 26, 2021 at Mtokela primary school when UTM members led by Director of Women Annie Nyadani Makuta addressed them.

"We have been told by agriculture officials that fertilizer prices have gone up so that an ordinary person in the village cannot afford to buy on the counter. How does President Chakwera feel when two bags of fertilizers will be bought at K80,000 by elderly persons, orphans, and all vulnerable women in our society?

"Does the President really care for us? Imagine, just two days ago, the same government has announced that poor Malawians will buy maize at Admarc at the price of K205 per kilogram.

"This is an insult to us the farmers who 'lend' maize to government in an anticipation that when drought or famine hits us, we can go and buy the same food at a reasonable price," said Group Village Headman Banda who spoke on behalf of over 40 traditional leaders.

Chiefs also faulted President Chakwera for the recent Affordable Input Program (AIP) fertilizer and seed prices.

Village Headman Banda said: "The promise was that vulnerable people shall be buying fertilizer K4,495. Today, they have announced from the comfort of their homes that the same poor Malawian must add extra K2,500 on top to buy the commodity with less than a month to go before the start of the planting season. This flip-flopping is proving to be costly to us. We have never seen this kind of leadership even during Kamuzu, Bakili, Bingu, Joyce and Peter administrations."

Taking her turn at Mtokera School, UTM's Director of Women Makuta called upon all stakeholders in this by-elections to desist from inflammatory languages that can lead to violence but rather ran an issue-based campaign that will help to shape the socio-economic transformation of the people once UTM's candidate emerges victorious in the October 26 election.

"We have come here to tell you one thing, which is that politics of hate and vengeance have no place in modern politics. UTM under its leader Dr. Saulos Claus Chilima believes in peace, harmony and coexistence as one way of enhancing democracy in this country. In UTM, we are convinced that peace and development are interrelated," said Makuta who once served as advisor to former President Peter Mutharika on Women's Affairs.

Makuta said Malawi is a sanctuary for law-abiding citizens even during elections. She asked police to bring to book all perpetrators of violence.

She also urged chiefs to remind their subjects to go and verify their names on the voters roll from Monday, September 27, 2021.

Speaking earlier, UTM's parliamentary candidate, Patrick Siwinda called on people to vote for him because he is development conscious. He promised chiefs that he will initiate construction of school blocks to encourage more girls and women to attain an education. He also promised to bring piped water to the people and build more health centres as many people move long distances to seek medical services.

"Women deserve to be empowered in all areas, including health, education, and to feel safe. It's proven truth that a strong, healthy and educated woman is key to a prosperous nation. We all benefit: we take care of them, they take care of us," said the Siwindi.

On prices of fertilizer, Siwindi described the situation as a slap in the face of the poor and that Malawians will face hunger next year for they shall not afford to buy the fertilizer at current exorbitant prices.

"UTM honours our hardworking farmers who contribute immensely in the socioeconomic development of this country. We reaffirm our resolve to protect you by denouncing hard conditions they are being subjected tos" Siwindi said, promising the youths construction of a recreation centre, technical college and lobby government to provide soft loans for them to start businesses.

The Dedza Central East seat fell vacant following the death of Mcstein Mkomba who was the parliamentarian for the area.

Some of the notable people who accompanied Makuta were UTM's Deputy Central RegionGovernor Rashid, and Dedza District Secretary Mapalamba, among others.

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