Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa on Saturday warned chiefs and agricultural extension workers against corruption in the distribution of free food to the vulnerable.
The minister, who is also governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vice-president for the South, issued the warning during a whistle-stop tour dubbed the Blue Parade he conducted in Chiradzulu alongside Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Joseph Mwanamvekha.
Said Nankhumwa: “We know there is a lot of cheating and corrupt tendencies. Some chiefs get bribes from traders or other people to include them on beneficiaries’ register… We know these registers are done during the night.”
He said the law will not spare anyone involved in the malpractice at the cost of needy families.
The parade took the two ministers to Chitera, Chiperere, Thumbwe Technical Community College, Namadidi and Nguludi grounds—covering the district’s five constituencies.
The 2018 Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Mvac) report has projected that at least 3.3 million Malawians will be food insecure this year following a 22.1 percent decrease in maize production.
For this, government will need to raise about K23.5 billion to buy the required 138 488 metric tonnes (MT) of maize to feed the people.
Government allocated K7 billion in the 2018/19 national budget to cater for relief food, leaving a K13.8 billion deficit.
The relief food distribution started in Blantyre last week and, according to Mwanamvekha, the exercise will proceed to March next year.
The agriculture minister said government was saddened with reports of some chiefs denying vulnerable citizens an opportunity to get relief food and warned of serious repercussions once found out.