GOKWE — Zanu PF has started selective distribution of farming inputs under President Robert Mugabe’s inputs scheme — including maize seed — in Gokwe.
REPORT BY BLESSED MHLANGA/DESMOND CHINGARANDE
The distribution of the presidential inputs scheme at Bomba business centre last week was marred by controversy after scores of people were turned away because they were not carrying Zanu PF membership cards.
According to villagers from the area, over 800kg of maize seed was donated to Zanu PF supporters only, with those known for backing other political parties being turned away by Gokwe Rural District special interest councillor Abraham Nyamazana, assisted by party activists.
Most would-be-beneficiaries at Gokwe Centre were seen milling around in frustration after they were told the maize seed was strictly for Zanu PF card carrying members, while others rushed home to collect their party cards as they had not been aware of the requirements needed to get the seed.
Zanu PF Ward 1 chairperson Mike Gwasha told scores of people gathered to collect the seed at Gokwe centre: “This seed is from our President Cde Mugabe and no one should benefit from this seed except those who have the party card. This maize seed is strictly for Zanu PF supporters.”
Gwasha proceeded to produce a form that he purported was from Zanu PF head office. The form has a slot requiring seed recipients to provide a Zanu PF party card number. Elected ward 15 Njelele 2 councillor Newani Nyamazana (MDC-T), who is Abraham’s son, told NewsDay that MDC-T party supporters who thronged Bomba with the intention of getting maize seed were told in no uncertain terms that the seed would only be given to party loyalists.
“When (President Robert) Mugabe launched the $20 million inputs scheme as President of this country he said the scheme will benefit everyone, but we are now being told only card carrying members will benefit from the scheme. Abraham was giving seed to only those from his party,” he said.
Abraham lost a council seat to Newani during the harmonised elections in 2008 and only bounced back after he was appointed special interest councillor by Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo.
The special interest councillor, who is looking to regain the seat from his son, confirmed that his party had started donating maize seed to its members in Njelele 2.
“We have started the programme which was launched by our president in support of our farmers, nobody has stopped the MDC from looking for its own donors so that they can do the same,” he said.
Gokwe Kabuyuni MP Costin Muguti (MDC-T) castigated the move to distribute farm inputs on partisan lines saying: “We heard President Mugabe saying no one would die of hunger when he introduced the scheme. Was he referring to Zanu PF apologists? As MPs we want to establish where President Mugabe got the $20 million to buy the maize for his party supporters. If the money is tax-payers’ or from diamonds, then the seed is meant for everybody.”
MDC-T Ward 1 councillor Onias Tongwara said: “These Zanu PF members must remember Mugabe does not represent his party only, but Zimbabwe as a whole and what he gives people must be given to any person who resides in it and it must not be on partisan lines.”
The distribution of the presidential input scheme is viewed by many as an election campaign tool and a witch-hunting exercise against supporters of other political parties. Home Affairs co–Minister Theresa Makone speaking in Torwood on Sunday, said: “Can the donor come out in the open so that we know where the money came from and that it was donated to a President of a country so that he can feed members of his party only?”