Lowe asked to resigned

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The country’s watchdog Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) is demanding resignation of Agriculture Minister Robin Lowe for misleading directive on reduced numbers of Affordable Inputs Program (AIP) beneficiaries.

The call comes after President Lazarus Chakwera over the weekend disowned Lowe’s directive on reduced number of AIP beneficiaries.

In his national address Chakwera hinted that no any communication was issued from his office to reduce AIP beneficiaries.

The Malawi leader assured the nation that his Tonse government will deal with anyone to tries to tamper with AIP program including hiking fertilizer prices that pin down poor farmers.

It is this background CDED gives Agriculture Minister Lowe “seven days to either make publicly, a detailed statement, justifying your decision to scale down the number of AIP beneficiaries, and indicating how much the exercise has cost Malawians, or step-down, to save yourself from shame and further embarrassment, following your lack of knowledge on government protocols and procedures, given President Chakwera’s reversal of your action, as the responsible Minister of Agriculture”.

“Failure to do so within the stipulated period, will leave CDEDI with no option, but to invoke the Access to Information Act, to ensure that the citizens, who double as taxpayers, have the right to access this public information, without undue hindrance, as evidence that will help them to push for your resignation,” reads in part CDEDI letter signed by its Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa to Lowe dated August 25, 2021.

Below is CDEDI letter to Lowe:



Dear Sir,


RE: CONCERNS ON THE NEEDLESS SCALING DOWN EXERCISE OF THE AIP BENEFICIARIES FOR THE 2021/2022 GROWING SEASON


The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI), hereby writes you Hon. Minister, with reference to a circular Ref. No.30/15/14, dated 21st July 2021, and signed by the Secretary for Irrigation, Sandram Maweru. Reference is also being made to a public address by President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, delivered on August 21, 2021.

Through the aforementioned circular, under the headline 2021-2022 AFFORDABLE INPUTS PROGRAMME BENEFICIARIES, addressed to all District Commissioners, for the attention of All Directors of Agriculture,
Environment, and Natural Resources, your ministry scaled down the number of AIP beneficiaries, for two reasons: (a) financial constraints; (b) rising prices of fertilizer.


Effectively, 1 million beneficiaries were deleted from the initial 3.7 million, recorded in the 2020/2021 growing season, bringing down the figure to 2.7 million in the 2021/2022 farming season.

Our investigations have shown that all the district councils responded promptly, by moving into the scaling down exercise, where the number of beneficiaries in some villages was trimmed to 6 farming families only.

It is a known fact that taxpayers’ money was used to undertake this very costly exercise, in the form of fuel, stationery, and allowances.

In a twist turn of events, President Chakwera publicly nullified your ministry’s decision, sir, giving an impression that he was not party to the directive, and neither was he consulted on the matter.

Now that we know the scaling down exercise was not sanctioned by President Chakwera, then Malawians are
justified to say that you made a unilateral decision, which has cost the taxpayers huge sums of money.

In all fairness, sir, you should have resigned immediately after the public address was made by Dr. Chakwera, since his remarks smelt a vote of no confidence in you as the responsible Minister of Agriculture.

This has also soiled your credibility in the eyes of the district council authorities, who will be hesitant to abide by any instructions from your office, in future, hence the more reason CDEDI is calling for your resignation, in a bid to protect your integrity.

CDEDI is, therefore, giving you sir, seven (7) days to either make publicly, a detailed statement, justifying your decision to scale down the number of AIP beneficiaries, and indicating how much the exercise has cost Malawians, or step-down, to save yourself from shame and further embarrassment, following your lack of knowledge on government protocols and procedures, given President Chakwera’s reversal of your action, as the responsible Minister of Agriculture.

Failure to do so within the stipulated period, will leave CDEDI with no option, but to invoke the Access to Information Act, to ensure that the citizens, who double as taxpayers, have the right to access this public information, without undue hindrance, as evidence that will help them to push for your resignation.


Yours Faithfully, Sylvester Namiwa
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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