Mulli Brothers Limited (MBL) seems to be sailing in troubled waters. If the company is not in court fighting unending financial battles, then it is complaining about government not awarding it contracts. Recently, the company sought God’s intervention through prayers that were held in all its subsidiaries across the country. Paida Mpaso talks to MBL managing director Leston Mulli who speaks about the tough times the company is facing.
You have been claiming that government is trying to squeeze you financially. What exactly do you mean?
You madam, this is a business and as a businessperson you need to consider many things. In business, there are issues of politics, economics which have an impact on how you run your business. You don’t know where this business is coming from, and for someone to want to punish Mulli is not right.
Would you elaborate on someone wishing to punish Mulli?
They want to milk the company dry so that foreigners buy it; forgetting that we are one of the companies that are creating employment for many Malawians. Many people are saying I have monopolised the industry, which is not true, but they are forgetting that my family and I worked hard for this company. We have sacrificed a lot for this company and we will continue to do so.
MBL gained a lot of ground during the DPP regime…others have even said the company wanted to buy the whole Mulanje Mountain?
What people are failing to understand is that Mulli Brothers Limited has been there since the Kamuzu regime. These people are just jealous and are not happy seeing a fellow Malawian do business. Honestly, this is not the best way to live. These people are failures in life, they have failed to do their own business and they want to destroy our company.
People say you were untouchable during the DPP regime and that most of the tenders you got were through dubious means? What do you say to that?
Untouchable? I am still untouchable up to now. The deals I got went through the normal channels. We were bidding for the tenders we got. There was no such thing as getting tenders through the back door. But maybe the environment during that time was very friendly. People could do business as they pleased, but now, these are tough economic conditions and as Mulli, we are scaling down.
Even the people in the villages are complaining… things are just too bad. All these allegations are just rumours. Even now, some people will say I gave you the interview because you are going out with me? And yet, maybe you have never seen me or even shook my hand. All these rumours are coming from people who don’t wish me well. But we will survive.
How does it feel that you are not in good books with the current government?
The issue was good economic policies and a good environment for business. I was simply a businessperson. I see an opportunity and seize it. I and my family have worked so hard on this business; it had nothing to do with the then government.
How many employees does MBL have?
Paida, we have so many workers, about 10 000. On top of this, we also employ seasonal workers, but like I said, we are scaling down. The economic conditions are very harsh; I mean the way the kwacha is being floated, it’s bad. Everyday things are going up, how are we going to survive?
The other day you were asking people to pray for you?
Hahahaha! I am talking about well wishers. A lot of people benefited from this business, whether directly or indirectly, but surprisingly, they want to bring us down. Let them know that we will keep fighting to the end. Even if we fail, we will never stop fighting; we will continue to fight till we win. Let them know we will fight till the last drop of our blood. That is how it will be played. We have taken this company to greater heights and we will continue this quest. Even you, never stop fighting.