Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Vehicle smashed over subsidy fertilizers

A vehicle belonging to the central region’s Ntchisi District Assembly was on Monday smashed by irate villagers who protested against a small number of beneficiaries in the farm input subsidy programme.

The vehicle was smashed at Pondani Primary School in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Chikho where a district assembly team had gone for a pre-registration exercise which is underway in the area.

According to the team leader, Godfrey Kam’munda the incident took place in the presence of TA Chikho himself who was there and his subjects showed no signs of respect to his presence.

“The people were very angry with the smaller number of beneficiaries per village. They wondered why all the farming families in the villages, as indicated on the lists we had brought from the assembly, were not considered as beneficiaries and they thought it was us (the assembly team) that trimmed the list in order to cheat them,” said Kam’munda.

He said instead of the villagers going into groups to identify bonafide beneficiaries, they surrounded the assembly team and started insulting and manhandling them including a police officer who had two canisters of teargas but could not have a chance to use them.

The team leader said the situation got out of hand when one of the team members who is a prison officer produced a piston which did not threaten the villagers but rather fueled their anger.

“That’s when we decided to rush to our vehicle but the villagers had started throwing stones on to us and when we were about to leave they smashed the vehicle by breaking some of its glasses except the windscreen,” he said.

According to Ntchisi Police, the vehicle, registration number DA 2203 belongs to the Ntchisi Community Development office.

The vehicle looked very archaic with no glasses in some of its windows as it returned to the assembly.

Acting District Agriculture Development Officer for Ntchisi, Denis Zingeni said the issue is in the hands of the Police.

“We have done this exercise for the past five years but all along people have never behaved this way. We need the perpetrators to be brought to book. So we believe the police will do their job to apprehend the culprits,” said Zingeni.

Pondani centre is a third place where people have protested against fewer numbers of the farm input subsidy programme beneficiaries in Ntchisi with others sending back unfilled registration forms-Malawi News Agency.

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