Govt slumber sends 2,2 million to hunger

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THE United Nations (UN) is reportedly appealing for more funding to bankroll the country’s food relief programmes where 2,2 million people are facing hunger, with the situation seen worsening with rising food prices.

The UN relief agency, the World Food Programme, has had to cut rations for about one million people on its relief programme. It has gone further to warn that there could be even “deeper cuts” in the number of beneficiaries next month.

The country is entering the critical period of January, February and early March. Most rural communities in southern Zimbabwe are in a fix as far as food security is concerned in the next 90 days.

This newspaper has said it time and time again. We will say it again. The Zanu PF administration is sleeping on duty.

Minister Joseph Made has repeatedly bandied figures of maize being imported to feed starving villagers, but the latest reports indicate people are staring starvation in the face despite State media reports food is coming in by the tonnes.

It is an open secret the government is technically broke and has no financial wherewithal to import 150 000 tonnes of grain unless they were “hiding” the proceeds from diamonds sales during the ill-fated coalition government. Be that as it may, what is ironic is that here is a party which had one of its concerns in the July 31 election manifesto being to intently improve on food security.

It categorically stated that it wanted “to ensure food security as a central pillar of Zimbabwe’s sovereignty by launching a targeted national programme to spearhead, co-ordinate and promote production, processing, marketing and utilisation of nutrition for both rural and urban communities.” The mantra has been repeated in the much-hyped Zim Asset document. Party mandarins are still adamant it is the panacea to the country’s myriad socioeconomic malaises. But six months down the line, poor communities continue to sing the blues.

The government has failed to provide for starving multitudes, confirming Zanu PF’s failure to fulfil one of its election promises.

Some government officials are already saying there is nothing the government could do because inadequate money was allocated from the national budget. This defeatist attitude already has resulted in loss of confidence among the population in the government’s capacity to address critical issues in the socioeconomy.