A local analyst has bashed the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) over its questionable analysis of the hunger situation in Malawi.
The MVAC report projected that over 6 million Malawians would be in chronic need of food, with over 45 percent of rural population being food insecure.
“A total of 6.5 million people will not be able to meet their annual minimum food requirements, representing 39% of the total population,” claimed MVAC last year.
It was estimated that Malawi would experience a maize production deficit of 1.2 million metric tonnes against annual requirements.
Following the report, government embarked on a gear to procure maize, which saw Minister of Agriculture, George Chaponda implicated on cashgate-like procurement strategy in what is now widely known as the Maizegate scandal.
Government cancelled the deal and President Peter Mutharika fired Chaponda from the cabinet following growing pressure from the public.
“It is now harvesting time, yet we have not yet procured the maize from Zambia. It is obvious there is no need to procure the maize,” reasoned Joseph-Chidanti Malunga, chairperson of Parliamentary inquiry committee on the maizegate scandal when Chaponda was called for hearing before the committee.
In echoing Chidanti’s remarks, a renowned analyst has faulted MVAC as dubious.
“Without that report, there could never have been a room for Chaponda to suspiciously buy maize from Zambia. We couldn’t be talking of maizegate. But that MVAC assessment created that room. Government and Parliament must examine MVAC and the agenda of those who conducted the assessment that estimated that Malawi would be in chronic hunger,” reasoned Williams Simango, our news analyst.
“We have not bought maize from Zambia and it is clear we will not since the deal has been cancelled. But billions will be lost for compensation. That money could have been allocated to run other social services such as health. MVAC must be investigated over its role in the maizegate scandal if we are to close all the loopholes for the Chaponda-would be,” he urged.
MVAC is a consortium comprising of Government, NGOs working on humanitarian services including poverty and hunger related programmes such as USAID, World Vision, OXFAM and UN agencies such as UNICEF, WFP, FAO and UNDP among others.
Meanwhile, a syndicate that has been smuggling maize from ‘hunger-torn’ Malawi to Tanzania has been foiled by the Malawi Police.
In confirming the news, Northern Region spokesperson, Peter Kalaya, said the syndicate has been uncovered after the police intercepted 17 trucks loaded with maize, dubbed Chaponda after Agriculture minister, George Chaponda, following the maizegate scandal.
“It has been revealed that the traders use unchartered routes within Ilombe boarder in Chitipa and Songwe in Karonga,” said Kalaya. Meanwhile, the drivers are in police custody for questioning.