Written by PIUS NYONDO
MZUZU--Former First Lady Callista Mutharika attacked Pres Joyce Banda for her decision to devalue the kwacha as she defended her late husband and former Pres Bingu wa Mutharika for his staunch economic stand against devaluation.
Speaking at Pastors Voices Fraternal conference at Assemblies of God Church in Malawi's commercial city of Blantyre on Saturday, Callista blamed the incumbent president for failure to govern the country which she said has plunged many Malawians into untold misery.
Said Callista: "When Bingu stood against devaluation, many people thought he was mad. He tried to plead with chiefs and others just to understand how it will hurt us. His interest was to protect the people but many of us decided to give him a deaf ear. Most Malawians are regretting now since they've started feeling the pinch."
Mrs Mutharika also went after Joyce Banda for saying that that there's hunger in the country claiming there's maize but the citizenry doesn't have the money to buy it.
"There's no hunger in Malawi. How can one say there's hunger when there're no maize imports and she's sourcing her maize [which she distributes] locally? There's maize on the local market, a sign that we've food in the country.
"[The problem is] people don't have money currently to buy maize. It is first thing in Malawi to see a 50kg bag of maize selling at K7 500. It has never happened before."
Callista said that just because Joyce Banda once run an non-governmental organisation, Hunger Project, it doesn't mean she's capable of running a country.
"When [once] I said a Mandasi [fritter] seller, people thought it was just an inult or shabby talk. But [the thing is] I've known her from way back. Just because she once ran an NGO, it doesn't mean she's capable to run a country."
At the conference, attended by about 400 clerics from the Southern Region, one of the main preachers Pastor Joshua Jere called upon the church to participate in politics claiming it's not out of the ordinary for religious people to join mainstream politics.
Callista donated a sum of K220 000 to pastors' wives to start up a revolving fund for small-scale businesses but warned them not to go into Mandasi businesses.
"Don't start mandasi businesses, there's no profit in them with the kwacha devaluation," she advised.
Before Banda went into politics, her organisation National Association for Business Women, gave loans to women to start small businesses. Some went into mandasi (fritters) business and helped support their families. The president, who connects well with people at the grassroots, makes it a point to remind people that she had humble beginnings. She is the daughter of a former policeman and became the country's first female president and only the second female head of state in Africa in modern times.
(c) The Maravi Post 2013