By Yohane Symon
President Lazarus Chakwera has announced that government, through Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma), will start distribution of relief food items to people who are affected by hunger next month.
Chakwera said this yesterday at Chiwanja cha Ayao Cultural festival which was held at Mangochi Stadium.
According to government reports, up to 3.8 million households are facing food shortage this year.
The President said government has already planned distribution of relief items to the affected households for several months until the lean season is over next year.
“The government knows that a lot of people are facing hunger in the country. This is why Dodma is expected to start distribution of relief maize from November.
“We are also finalizing processes to pave the way for rolling out of the AIP [Agriculture Input Programme] for this season,” he said.
Regarding the Chiwayanja cha Ayao festival, Chakwera urged the Yao people in the country to work together with other tribes in fostering peace which, he said, can help to create a conducive environment for social-economic development.
The President said Malawi is a peaceful country where people from different tribes coexist, hence the need for people leading various cultural groupings to avoid mixing politics and cultural celebrations.
In his statement, Paramount Chief Kawinga asked government to lead discussions which would pave the way for a possibility of having one cultural festival for all tribes in future.
Kawinga said having one cultural festival day for all tribes would create an opportunity for different cultural groups to learn about others.
“We can be holding one cultural festival where we can learning from each other. This also can foster unity among our people. In addition to that, this can also help in making sure that politicians are not taking advantage of the cultural groupings,” he said.
Yaos from different parts of the country performed different traditional dances.
Among those that attended the event was Vice President Saulos Chilima, former president Bakili Muluzi, Atupele, cabinet minister and chiefs from other tribes.
Conspicuous in his absence was former president Peter Mutharika, although the official programme indicated he would be available.