By Wanangwa Tembo MANA
Former President Joyce Banda says political leaders must feel sorry for poor and vulnerable people and stop derailing development initiatives by opposing ideas out of sheer jealousy and greed.
Banda was speaking Monday at Mpasazi in Traditional Authority (T/A) Mnyanja in Kasungu when she toured crops cultivated under the Community Development Initiative (CDI), a non-profit making organisation she established in consultation with President Lazarus Chakwera.
Banda was apparently referring to some quarters of the political divide and communities who did not welcome the CDI-led project and refused to benefit from its activities allegedly on political grounds.
Established in 2021, CDI aims to address socio-economic challenges which people in the rural areas are facing by providing them with free farm inputs and cash.
The initiative also seeks to transform rural communities through provision of clean water, construction of houses, schools, markets and one-stop women empowerment centres across the country.
At least 1,050 households received free fertilizer and maize seeds and cultivated about 10,000 hectares of maize, beans and soybeans under an arrangement that also includes a monthly K25,000 allowance.
Banda expressed delight that her vision to empower and feed poor communities is coming to fruition, adding she is ready to replicate this anywhere in the country so long the community should welcome the project wich requires a lot of land.
Speaking earlier, T/A Mnyanja thanked the former president for coming to the rescue of people in his area, saying many had challenges in accessing farm inputs under the Agricultural Inputs Programme (AIP).
Banda, well known for her charity initiatives, was accompanied by her husband Richard Banda, district council officials, members of parliament and chiefs.