Written by Chinsinsi Cheketa and Dyson Kamwana:
The Center for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has threatened that it will go on with its planned vigils at Parliament building Friday, if Parliament will not halt all businesses and deliberate on the tabling of the emergency maize bill.
Speaking when presenting a petition to Parliament Wednesday, CDEDI Executive Director, Sylvester Namiwa expressed hope that maize prices may go down once Parliament allow the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) to release maize from its reserves, for Malawians to be purchasing the commodity in all Agriculture Development Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) depots.
Namiwa said a lot of vendors across the country have stored maize waiting for critical moments for them to raise prices, a situation he said can be avoided if the government responds to the call accordingly.
He said, “This is why we are here. Parliament should suspend all businesses and table the bill that will see the government engaging commercial farmers to grow maize under irrigation basis”.
“The initial plan was that after presenting the petition, we start camping at Parliament premises”, added Namiwa.
Receiving the petition on behalf of the Speaker of Parliament, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture Sameer Sulemain said, he is in support of the demands in the petition and pledged to present it to relevant authorities for consideration of tabling it in the august house.
He said, “The petition is carrying a strong message which I feel should be supported, because it is talking of food which has become scarce due to cyclones the country experienced and Malawi are starving”.
Last week, Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Kondwani Nankhumwa also moved a motion in the house to allow parliamentarians to discuss matters affecting the country, including the issues of skyrocketing prices of maize, which saw the government allowing the opening of all ADMARC depots across the country.