APA Lilongwe (Malawi) The US-based Hunger Project (THP)’s Global Board and senior staff, in consultation with the independent jury, have decided to withdraw the 2011 “Africa Prize for Leadership” for the Sustainable End of Hunger from Malawi president Bingu wa Mutharika due to the current crisis in the country, according to a statement from THP available to APA on Monday in Lilongwe.
The statement said the unprecedented events of 20-21 July (note: violent repression of high cost of living riots in which 18 died), as well as subsequent reports of mass arrests and official media censors among others, led the organization to conclude that an award would not be appropriate in the midst of governmental crisis and uncertainty.
“While we do acknowledge the past accomplishments of the President for the sustainable end of hunger, this award is given not only in recognition of the achievements, but also for ongoing leadership and the prospects for future progress to end hunger,” it said.
Mutharika enabled Malawi to become food basket capable by covering its basic needs and also exporting food to other African countries.
The final decision was sent to the Malawi mission to the United Nations in New York to inform the head of state about it.
The prize will hence be only awarded to Liberian Agriculture minister Dr Florence Chenoweth in New York City on 22 October 2011, it said.
Dr. Chenoweth will be presented with a sculpture by the famed artist Takenobu Igarashi and a cash award of US$50,000 to further her work for the sustainable end of hunger.
The THP launched the Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger in 1987 to call forth the committed, effective leadership that Africa desperately needs.
The Africa Prize honours a distinguished African man or woman who has exhibited past and present and ongoing exceptional leadership in bringing about the sustainable end of hunger at the national, regional or continent-wide level.