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Zanu Pf accused of politicizing food aid to starve opposition
in Zimbabwe Coalition
October 18, 2013
this article on the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition website
food aid agencies predicting food shortages in the country, the
hopes of many rural Zimbabweans in dry Southern regions may hinge
on the election campaign promises made by the ruling Zimbabwe African
National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) party in the run
up to the harmonized polls.
Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) in a study
led by government with the assistance of United Nations (UN) unearthed
that 2.2 million people, one in four of the rural population, would
need food aid by early 2014. World Food Programme (WFP) food supplements
distribution in partnership with government would start this October,
until next March.
UN World Food
Programme (WFP) Country Director Sory Ouane reportedly noted that:
districts, particularly in the south, harvested very little and
people are already trying to stretch out their dwindling food stocks.
working closely with the Government and partners to respond to the
looming food crisis and will start food and cash distributions to
the most vulnerable in October.”
its promises, accusations of bias have been leveled against the
Zanu-PF-led government for allegedly sidelining presumed opposition
members in food aid distributions as the country enters a critical
food shortage stage that is expected to peak just before the next
Buhera, a dry
area in Manicaland Province, has recently been in the news following
a tour by reporters from independent media who unearthed a critical
shortage of water and food amid increasing fears of starvation especially
among rural dwellers.
Netsai Moyo (not her real name) of Buhera West Constituency won
by former national police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka, the distribution
of bags of maize to the people in Ward 5 has been politicized as
presumed Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters do not
receive anything, or only receive leftovers after Zanu-PF faithful
would have been assisted.
pachavo. (They share amongst themselves),” she said in Shona.
“Vozoti zvinenge zvasara zvopiwawo avo vanenge vachinzi ma
MDC. (And what would have been left is what is given to us who are
presumed to be MDC supporters).”
A Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) councilor from a different ward in Buhera
West who refused to be named said there is great “manipulation”
of the whole process, even information on the food distribution
manipulation nekuti vanhu veZanu ndivo chete vanenge vaine information
yese, vachiudzana pachavo. (There is manipulation because only the
Zanu-PF people will be having information about the food and they
pass it on among themselves),” he said in Shona. “Pamwe
unotongowona vanhu vaungana usingazivi kuti panei wozonzwa kuti
ndezvechikafu. (Sometimes you just see people gathered, and you
won’t know what is happening, only to be told later that they
were being given food).”
have been expressed by villagers in Gwanda, in the dry Matabeleland
South province, who have also reported unfair distribution of bags
of maize, the staple crop in Zimbabwe.
One man, who
only identified himself as Mpumelelo, complained about the mysterious
reception of food in his ward in Gwanda, angrily saying it was better
if the government stopped the whole process.
ukuthi uhulumende ayekele ukusinceda kwakhona nxa kulobandlululo.
(It’s better for the government to stop the whole process
of helping us with food because there is segregation),” said
the furious Mpumelelo in isiNdebele.
members have strongly condemned the politicization of food aid distribution
insisting that it was contrary to the letter and spirit of the Constitution.
The right to
food is guaranteed in the Zimbabwe Constitution,
as such the Government should ensure that all citizens regardless
of political persuasions have access to food. Never at any time
should food assistance be politicized’ stated Gerald Matiba,
a Bulawayo-based civic society leader.
Reports of partisan
food aid distribution have been arisen every time the country -
which analysts say has not recovered from a huge plunge in agricultural
productivity caused by a chaotic land reform program a decade ago
- experiences food shortages, which are now predictable several
months before the next harvest.
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