President Peter Mutharika On Friday warned opposition political parties and rights activists in the country from destabilising the economy.
The President said he suspected foul-play by the opposition in the fire that destroyed part of Delamere House in Blantyre on Friday morning.
Mutharika said this during the launch of Agriculture Commercialisation project at Bingu International Convention Centre (Bicc) in Lilongwe.
He also took a swipe at the two groups for allegedly being bent on destroying the country’s economy and cause anarchy, a development he said is unacceptable.
“These people want to destroy property, this is unacceptable and it is inhuman. They are trying to take advantage of Malawians by lying that they won the elections case so that if they lose people should cause anarchy. Don’t be used by such people,” said Mutharika.
However Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) vice-chairperson Gift Trapence said Mutharika is in denial of the injustices Malawians are being subjected to, adding that the quest for people to seek justice should not be seen as an act of anarchy.
While Malawi Congress Party spokesperson Reverend Maurice Munthali said people who go to demonstrate on the streets are not sent by the party but they are Malawians who have a message that they want to deliver, and agonies which they want relief for.
Turning to his prepared speech titled ‘Creating New Wealth with Agriculture’, Mutharika described the Agriculture Commercialisation project as a game-changer which will transform agriculture in the country.
The $95 million project, which will run for six years is being financed with a loan from the World Bank.
At the launch, the President also announced that the Shire Valley Transformation Project for Irrigation is ready and will be launched in a few weeks’ time.
“We have land. We have water. We have our minds to think. And we have our hands to work with. Why should we be poor?
“I have always said Malawi is not a poor country. This country has everything. And there is no reason we should continue to be poor people if we use our hands and minds wisely,” he said.
Mutharika hopes by the end of the project in 2023, the country will have established at least 300 productive alliances and graduated 650 000 small and medium-scale farmers from subsistence to commercial farming.
“What we are beginning today is a revolution in agriculture in Malawi. We will train people with skills for value-addition to their produce. We will make sure that people have good storage systems.
“Opposition leaders are deliberately creating poverty and suffering for Malawians so that the people become easy to manipulate. They want to destroy innocent people’s businesses and destroy the economy so that Malawians must be suffering,” he said.
In his speech, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Kondwani Nankhumwa indicated that 40 productive alliances spread across the country are expected to be established by June 2020 through the project.
According to Nankhumwa, strategic interventions of the project include $30 million which has been set aside for matching grant that will be provided to participating producer organisations with capital investments to increase productivity, quality and sale of agriculture products.
“There will also be $3 million for partial credit guarantee fund which is meant to attract strong private sector participation to ensure sustainability after project phase.
“Another $18 million is for Last Mile Infrastructure which will provide a public good infrastructure to facilitate operations by the selected producer organisation and productive alliances,” he said.