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Chiefs deny politicising food aid

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ZIMBABWE Chiefs Council president Chief Fortune Charumbira has denied having a hand in the distribution of food aid saying traditional leaders were not politicising any food distribution.

TATENDA CHITAGU

Speaking when Japanese ambassador to Zimbabwe Yonezo Fukuda handed over some food aid at Sipambi business centre in Masvingo through the World Food Programme (WFP), Charumbira, who together with other chiefs have been accused of denying aid to political opponents, said such talk was mere cheap politicking.

“I want to say it out today loud and clear that we are not the ones who decide who gets the food aid. It is the NGO (non-governmental organisation) representatives who are here, not traditional leaders. We heard of reports of that nature, but that is false,” Charumbira said.

“I know not all of you will get aid, but the decision was made by the local NGO representatives who chose the most vulnerable families, but when more of the aid comes, you will all be covered.  So do not think that I am the one to blame for not benefiting now.”
He appealed for more food aid saying donors should not be discouraged by cheap political talk.

Charumbira also warned NGOs not to erode people’s values and culture for the sake of food aid.

Provincial Affairs minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti disclosed at the same function that close to 300 000 people in Masvingo were in need of food aid.

Bhasikiti also appealed to NGOs to fund irrigation projects in the province to help end chronic hunger that has stalked Masvingo for the last decade.

Japan has contributed about $4,2 million to boost food and nutrition security for some of the poorest families in Zimbabwe.

WFP and its partners seek to assist some 1,2 million vulnerable people through food distribution and self-help projects.

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