Zanu PF has accused Finance minister and MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti of stalling distribution of farming implements meant for Matabeleland South, North and Bulawayo provinces under government’s farm mechanisation programme.
The farming implements, part of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Mechanisation Programme, have been lying idle at the National Railways of Zimbabwe courtyard for the past three years.
The fallout follows Biti’s refusal to allow the agricultural implements to be distributed exclusively to Zanu PF supporters instead of farmers in the three Matabeleland provinces, regardless of their political affiliation.
Addressing party supporters at the Zanu PF Matabeleland North inter-district conference, Zanu PF national chairperson Simon Khaya-Moyo accused Biti of trying to gain votes for MDC-T through the agriculture implements scheme, introduced before the coalition government was formed.
“There are implements in Bulawayo that have been lying idle for the past three years. We discussed the issue with members and I called a meeting in Bulawayo, where the three provinces met to find out the reasons behind the delay,” said Moyo.
“We even visited the site where the implements are being kept and realised that some implements had been stripped of parts. Committee members were chosen to come up with a distribution plan. I went back to the politburo where it was resolved that the implements had to be given to the people.”
Moyo said he then wrote to the committee members to distribute the implements to the people but RBZ officials in Bulawayo declined to release the equipment, saying they belonged to the head office hence were waiting for permission.
“I went on to write RBZ governor Gideon Gono a letter for the urgent release of the implements. During the National University of Science and Technology graduation, I told President (Robert) Mugabe that the implements had not been distributed.
“I then called Gono who said Biti was the problem because he was saying the implements should be given to everyone – including MDC-T – but the President argued that the programme started before the party joined the government of national unity,” said Moyo.
Moyo said President Mugabe then promised to summon Biti to solve the matter. “Biti wants MDC-T people to benefit from the implements so that they can gain votes from a programme that was launched before they joined government,” said Moyo. Efforts to get a comment from Biti were fruitless.
However, MDC-T national spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said the stance taken by Moyo showed that Zanu PF was blind to national interests.
“Minister Biti is a minister for all Zimbabweans. The attempts to sink so low into partisan politics betrays the fact some Zanu PF leaders have failed the national test. They are blinded by party politics to an extent that they want to hijack national programmes,” said Chamisa.