By Professor Rasha Maga-phiri
The mighty Malawi Congress Party (MCP) which was pushed into opposition during the advert of the multiparty government as people thought multiparty meant changing government of the day, has said that it would not let Malawians suffer just because the party is in opposition when it has all it takes to bail out the country in its wisdom in matters of agriculture and rule of law.
The leadership of MCP has noted with regret that Malawi is going through tough times and its President, Dr. Lazarus Chakwera said the current parliamentary sitting should realize that it is meeting at a time when the nation is faced with many matters of serious national importance which deserve MPs serious attention and action, like the looming hunger
Dr. Chakwera pointed out that it is no secret that this year the country will face serious food shortage.
“Like we have indicated before, we in MCP will support government in its effort to take Malawi out of the hunger situation that it finds itself in,” promised the MCP leader.
In his response to the state of the nation address by State President Arthur Mutharika, the MCP president recognized the efforts of government and the State President in particular for the spending a considerable amount of time discussing the matter.
Said the MCP president: “We agree with him that a lot of resources will have to be spent on mitigating the impact of this disaster.”
The MCP president however cautioned that the government not to spend too much time thinking about short-term mitigation measures but focus its energies and thinking on long-term mitigation measures.
“For example, we feel that turning the greenbelt initiative into reality is very critical at this point. It is not surprising that despite Greenbelt Initiative being the DPP government most touted initiative in their manifesto as a promise to the people of Malawi, the State President last Friday was at pains to show tangible results achieved since inception.
“Despite efforts made to allocate resources every financial year this government is failing to show us how they have hit the ground running as per their original claim by showing results indicating how much hectarage has been allocated to greenbelt initiative this far; how many farmers are engaged in the greenbelt initiative; how much volumes of commodities have been produced; how much revenue has been generated from the greenbelt initiative,” said the MCP president.
Dr. Chakwera pointed out that the MCP however notes with sadness that tractors that were meant for this exercise have been arbitrarily sold out and only about MK600 Million out of MK23 Billion loan from India has been recovered from buyers- leaving the balance to be shouldered by the poor Malawians.
“Our prayer is that government will now realize that time to use loans to fund self-aggrandizement is over and that this is time to go down to work and to ensure that all funds are being used for the intended purposes,” the president advised.
Dr. Chakwera said as a party, MCP believes that if Malawi is to reduce the food gaps there is need to seriously invest in irrigation rather going round and round giving mere cheap political rhetoric.
He said: “MCP suggests the need for Malawi as a nation to focus on the following issues for irrigation agriculture: we need to allocate meaningful resources to irrigation; address the land related bills once and for all to solve the land issues that work against serious agribusiness investments in irrigation agriculture; engage in serious public private partnership arrangements with government taking up a key role in collateral investments in critical public goods and infrastructure (e.g. roads/air ports/railways, logistics etc.) to reduce the cost of doing business.”
Malawi is going through serious food shortage and hunger has hit almost every district in the country.