Partisan food distribution worsens in Masvingo, Midlands

THE Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) has said incidents of politicisation of food aid continue to increase amid threats of hunger and starvation in the country due to drought.

by VENERANDA LANGA

ZPP national director Jestina Mukoko said her organisation documented 73 cases of food violations across the country from September to October alone, where different people were denied food handouts and farming inputs due to their political affiliation.

Although the cases of November to December last year were not yet documented, some people in Midlands, Masvingo and Manicaland provinces reported violations, where opposition party supporters were denied food handouts given to vulnerable groups.

“Our concern is the livelihoods of these people, most of whom are from vulnerable groups, and where necessary, government is being called upon to intervene,” Mukoko said in a statement yesterday.

“It is actually the role of government to protect and promote the rights of every citizen. As ZPP, we are saying this is what is happening in the communities and unless the government intervenes and follows up on this matter, targeted people are really going to starve.”

Mukoko said with this year’s drought threatening more hunger on vulnerable Zimbabweans, it was feared people would suffer if politicisation of food continued.

JESTINA MUKOKO etched

Recently, opposition MPs in Parliament also questioned the rationale of irrigation equipment from Brazil being donated to Zanu PF supporters at First Lady Grace Mugabe’s rallies, saying it was politicisation of farm implements where every Zimbabwean was supposed to benefit.

The equipment was sourced by government from Brazil under a $98 million loan deal.

Kuwadzana East MP Nelson Chamisa even demanded that Grace should also visit MDC-T rallies to donate the equipment.

But Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Grace was “handing over” and not “donating” the equipment.

The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee estimates that 1,5 million people, including 16% of the rural population, might be unable to meet their minimum food needs during the 2015 to 2016 lean season, which is the period prior to the next harvest.

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