President Joyce Banda’s donation of maize to Malawi Police Service has angered some members of the service who feel were purposely blocked from receiving it.

The officers are questioning the justification behind the choice of lowest ranked police officers— constables and sergeants— to benefit from the President’s donations, leaving out others.

A police source in the Southern Region who attended a women’s welfare committee meeting, comprising police officers’ wives and women police officers, said they were told the gift was meant for the wives of police constables and sergeants only.

“We were told the gift has come as an appreciation for the good job the police have been doing. Why then, leaving out other police officers yet we work as a team?” the sources, said.

They further said the general feeling in the police is that hiking their salaries and honouring their unpaid allowances could have boosted their morale and not the little maize where each beneficiary is getting a minimum of five kilogrammes.

“If this was a salary hike, it could have been across the board and everyone would have been glad about it.

“If it were paying us allowances, which we were denied during the burial of the late former President Bingu wa Mutharika and during the People’s Party convention, we could have highly appreciated but not this selective donation,” the sources said.

National Police spokesperson Rhoda Manjolo on Wednesday confirmed the President donated the maize, but said it came with instructions to distribute it to junior police officers only.

“It is a personal gift from Her Excellency the President Mrs Joyce Banda to Women’s Welfare [in the police] and it was emphasised that only wives of police officers of lower ranks should benefit.

“And when we say junior officers in police we mean constables and sergeants. Therefore, no officer above this should cry foul of being left out,” Manjolo said.

Press Secretary to the President Steve Nhlane on Wednesday corroborated Manjolo’s statement, saying the maize was meant for lowly ranking police officers.

“The HE [Her Excellency President Joyce Banda] donated t h a t m a i z e t o t h e women’s welfare in the Malawi Police Service to give it to lower ranks like constables and sergeants.

“It is not possible logistically to donate to everyone in the police. That’s why the president has even been donating maize to [selected] vulnerable people in the society and not everyone,” Nhlane said.

He said the president’s gesture is just an extension to the donation of food relief she has been making to other vulnerable quarters identified by chiefs in conjunction with the the Department of Disaster Management Affairs.

He said this maize donation is, therefore, following the same procedure that those who get little should be beneficiaries.
Meanwhile, reports about the politicisation of President Banda’s maize are rife in Nkhata Bay where PP District Chairperson James Thawe Nkhata is said to have been distributing the maize to party loyalists and not the vulnerable.

Chairperson for Nkhata Bay Clergy Association Reverend Kamija Nyirenda said on Thursday the clergy have since pledged to work with traditional chiefs and the party for transparency’s sake, but said the party is refusing.

Nkhata and his party team snubbed an area development committee meeting summoned by Chief Nkumbira, yet issued orders to distribute just 329 bags out of the 600 bags.

Nkhata declined to comment on the matter when contacted on Thursday, saying he could only give a face to face interview.

However, PP Secretary General Henry Chibwana said he was aware of the issue and expressed concern that some people want to gain political mileage over the maize.

“ I would personally condone a situation where the vulnerable are cheated because somebody wants to fulfil his political ends. The maize is for the vulnerable regardless of one’s political affiliations,” Chibwana said.

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