By Chisomo Phiri
The Leader the Opposition in Parliament who is also Democratic Progressive Party (DPP ) vice president for southern region Kondwani Nankhumwa, has written the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) to investigate what he describes as human rights violations that farmers seeking the Affordable Input Programme (AIP) fertiliser are being subjected to.
In his letter addressed to MHRC executive secretary Habiba Osman, Nankhumwa has requested the institution to investigate why government officials are obtaining money from farmers upfront on a promise they would get the fertilizer later and yet they do not get.
“There are documented cases of government agents going village by village in Mchinji, Ntchisi, Mulanje, and Chitipa, among others collecting money for AIP fertilizer from farmers whilst promising to give them fertilizer at a later date.
“This is unprecedented in the history of fertilizer subsidy programs in this country, and it is just plain wrong.
” Why should the government take money from poor farmers without giving them the commodity when the rains are already here, and they are already late in applying the fertilizer in their fields?,” reads part of letter the opposition has written.
It concludes ” I personally find it abhorrent and immoral for the government to demand money upfront from poor farmers, and never give them the required commodity that they desperately need for crop production.
“Food is considered a human right across the world.
“Malawi is no exception. The AIP was conceived on that understanding – to ensure food security improves.”
Meanwhile, MHRC says it has received Nankhumwa’s complaint and that it has started reviewing it for the investigations commencement.