Abuja - Malawi's communication minister Patricia Kaliati has hit back at critics following a backlash over President Peter Mutharika telling citizens to eat grasshoppers and mice to keep starvation at bay, Nyasa Times reports.
According to Kaliati, Mutharika's remarks were "just a joke" and criticism following his utterances could only be described as thoughtless.
While claiming that government was doing all it could to curb the scourge of hunger currently rocking the southern African country, Kaliati revealed that enough funds had been allocated within the 2016-17 budget to enable the importation of food for citizens.
"The president has a right to joke when he is interacting with his people. He does not have to fear to explore his sense of humour simply because fault-finders lie in wait to denounce anything that he says.
"Government wishes to take this opportunity to assure the people of Malawi once again that everything is being done to address the food shortages that not only this country is experiencing," Kaliati was quoted as saying.
Malawian President Peter Mutharika reportedly told millions of starving Malawians to eat grasshoppers and mice over the weekend, urging citizens to be resourceful in their search for food and money.
The remarks were received with mixed reactions, with some Malawians claiming that Mutharika was being offensive to some religious groups who did not eat mice.
Felix Unyolo, a social commentator, has since kicked back at Kaliati's response on the matter, saying that Mutharika's utterances were like an offside in football.
"The president's remark are what we call an offside in football, the press statement however has just made things worse. What are they trying to say, that Mutharika thinks the hunger situation in the country is a joking issue?” questioned Unyolo, according to Malawi24.