Mar 24, 2018 Last Updated 2:07 PM, Mar 23, 2018


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President Peter Mutharika is giving assurances that the country will not experience a food shortage this year, as a result of the fall army worm outbreak.

He  made the remarks on Sunday in Nchalo, where he addressed a development rally aimed at garnering support for his ruling Democratic progressive Party (DPP).

In his speech, the president acknowledged the challenges farmers are experiencing in this growing season, which include the fall army worm outbreak, and the dry spell that has hit most areas in the southern and central regions.

He said there are enough food reserves in the country to sustain people till the next growing season.

Over 270,000 hectares of maize and other crops have been destroyed by the Fall Army Worms, with Balaka, Machinga and Blantyre, being the worst hit.

Mutharika is dismissed fears that the country will experience hunger this year, saying the grain reserves have 234,000 metric tonnes of maize in stock adding that the maize in the country’s silos is enough to sustain families that will not have bumper yield this year.

Mutharika continues to drum up support for his ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) ahead of the general elections scheduled to take place next year.

The president also recently held a rally in Lunzu in Blantyre.

President Peter Mutharika on Wednesday led Malawians in commemorating the International Day of Peace and the launch of the National Peace policy in Lilongwe.

Commemorated under the theme ‘Together for peace; respect, safety and dignity for all’ the day highlighted the need to embrace diversity a pre-requisite for promoting peace, create space for launching, disseminating and publicizing the National Peace Policy and to showcase Malawi’s rich cultural diversity. 

Delivering his speech before the launch, Mutharika said the two events demonstrate that government and the people of Malawi value peace.

He said the rest of the world commemorated the day on 21st September but it was symbolic for Malawi that it must also launch the National Peace Policy on the same day.

“We value peace and that is why Malawi has been at peace for all these years. It is symbolic that we launch the National Peace Policy on this day,” said Mutharika.

Mutharika said it was important to celebrate peace because nothing works where there is no peace. He said it was important that everyone cherishes peace as it comes next to life itself.

In his speech, Vice Chair for Civil Society Taskforce on National Peace Architecture, Ambassador Ron Nkomba (Retired) said the launch was critical regard as it is the culmination of the five years of work which partners that have been working together have been going through to establish the National Peace Architecture.

“We are excited that finally we have made it and we are here today launching the initiative that will help the country maintain peace and solve problems through mediation and dialogue,” said Nkomba.

He then asked President Mutharika to encourage the people in the country to respect the country’s national anthem but also develop a culture of singing along when it is time to sing it.

Present at the function was Leader of Opposition, Dr Lazarus Chakwera, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and heads of Diplomatic Missions, Madam Thandiwe Dumbutchena, government officials, Chiefs and many more distinguished guests.

The war of words between President Peter Mutharika and leader of opposition Lazarus Chakwera has pushed critics to call for sanity between the two.

Mutharika and Chakwera have been making statements hitting at each other through public forums.

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has gone flat out to attack leader of opposition, Lazarus Chakwera.

Apart from other party figures, the Malawi leader has also on several occasions hit at Chakwera, who is also the president of Malawi Congress Party.

Over the weekend Mutharika accused Chakwera on the tone he used when he responded to the State of the National Address.

Ironically, on several occasions including the SONA, Mutharika has preached about unity, peace and love in the country.

During the SONA Mutharika highlighted that both the government and opposition political parties are only serving Malawians who they represent in parliament.

Chakwera on the other hand has also made remarks that showed that he as the leader of opposition is not impressed with how the government is tackling issues affecting Malawians.

He has labelled Mutharika as a failed president.

For instance during the parliamentary deliberations, Chakwera accused Mutharika for failing to curb corruption within his government.

Chakwera further cited issues of the not following their manifesto which outlines how the DPP led government will respond to various challenges the country is facing.

All this is coming towards the road TO 2019 elections.

Critics however believe that this tendency is childish.

In an interview with Capital FM, a Chancellor College Political analyst, Ernest Thindwa says this unhealthy relationship has negative impact on the development of the country.

While National Coordinator Forum for National Development Fryson Chodzi concurs with him.

According to Chodzi, the two leaders should work on developing the country and putting an end to the challenges Malawians are coming across on a daily basis.

At the end of the day Malawians are waiting to see both the government and opposition political parties work together for the development of the country.

ADMARC Under Probe

The government is carrying out a high level probe to find out how huge amounts of money have been disappearing from the state owned Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC).

ADMARC is at the centre of an investigation in which the former minister of Agriculture; George Chaponda was embroiled in the botched maize deal between ADMARC and a Zambian private trader.

It is alleged that a Zambian firm Kaloswe Courier and Commuter Services got payment from the corporation before delivering maize to the institution.

Chaponda and the suspended ADMARC Chief Executive Officer Foster Mulumbe were implicated in the scam where is it estimated that MK2.5 billion was spent to purchase maize from Zambia. The matter is currently being probed by the Anti Corruption Bureau . 

During his visit at ADMARC headquarters in Limbe, Blantyre on Monday President Peter Mutharika assured Malawians that the government is critically looking into the matter.

Apart from that Mutharika also announced the lifting of the ban on exporting maize which he said was necessitated by the availability of maize which he claims is in abundance.

Malawi’s President, Peter Mutharika has been convinced by the Electricity Generating and supplying Companies EGENCO and ESCOM that the current power outages will be dealt with shortly.

This transpired earlier on Wednesday, when President Mutharika paid a surprise visit to ESCOM’s head offices in the commercial capital, Blantyre.

Business along the Victoria Avenue was brought to a standstill by the Malawi leader’s arrival.

According to managers of the two companies, measures are being implemented to rectify the problem, which the public and captains of industry have repeatedly expressed worry and anger over the persistent electricity blackouts.

The long hours without electricity, are affecting productivity in the manufacturing sector, and there continuous calls for the government to immediately identify solutions to the current challenges.

Though EGENCO has expressed interest in venturing into solar power, the plans are yet to be materialised.

Speaking after holding talks with EGENCO and ESCOM management, President Mutharika acknowledged the negative impact power outages are having, saying the government is giving the matter the attention it deserves.

Meanwhile, ESCOM revealed that power outages will continue until December this year as they are working on purchasing diesel generators to improve the situation.

Board Chairperson for the Parastatal Perks Ligoya told Capital FM that diesel generators may also come with high electricity tariffs upon the completion of the exercise.

“We have already signed agreements for 70 megawatts of power which may take close to a year for Malawians to use them.

As for the generators, by December about 30 generators to arrive and this will ease the power cuts that the country is experiencing,” Ligoya said.

Almost every year, Malawi experiences power cuts which arise due to the drop in levels of water in Lake Malawi mainly due to climate changes.

The level in the lake in turn affects the levels in Shire River which is EGENCO’s main source of power generation.

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