President Michael Sata has described the recent hike in mealie meal prices as unjustified and unacceptable.
In an apparent reaction to opposition UPND president Hakainde Hichilema’s advise yesterday that the ruling PF should not to bring their political tricks and lies (donchi kubeba) to people’s lives through increased mealie meal prices in the country, president Sata has said his administration will do everything possible to bring the price of the staple food down.
Mr. Hichilema had advised the PF government should take to their political failures and games elsewhere and not on sensitive things such as food provision, health and education.
In response, President Sata has told Agriculture and Livestock Emmanuel Chenda that he expects the millers to reach a rational consensus that does not only serve their interests but more significantly, the consumers’.
Mr. Sata said his administration will do everything possible to curb exploitation and maintain the price of mealie meal at satisfactory levels in order to insulate the general populace from bearing the effect of unjustified hikes.
This is contained in a press statement released in Lusaka today by Special Assistant to the President, George Chellah.
President Sata disclosed that the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has offloaded an initial 112, 000 metric tonnes of maize on the market and will continue to do so in the subsequent months.
“Therefore, there is no reason or justification why there should be a shortage of mealie meal in any part of the country,” President Sata said.
He told millers and other stakeholders in the sector to do the right thing as opposed to taking positions that will undermine consumer interests and the industry itself in the long term.
Speaking after he visited and toured Lusaka’s Kabwata market where he went to buy a bag of 25kg mealie meal at K75,000, Mr. Hichilema said it was surprising that only a few months ago, meal mealie was fetching around K45,000 but now the prices had escalated to an alarming levels beyond people’s reach.
He said it was clear that someone was again trying to do the poor Zambians another ‘donchi kubeba’, by playing with their food and health care provision.
Mr. Hichilema wondered what was so hard for the PF to have maintained or even reduced the price of the staple food especially after three successive bumper harvest seasons the country had been recording.
He said the problem with the PF government was playing ‘donchi kubeba’ on everything and wondered when they will settle down and govern the country.