Distribution of farm inputs and food handouts is still being done on a partisan basis at a time when some provinces like Matabeleland South face starvation, a human rights group has said.
by VENERANDA LANGA
This came at a time a World Food Programme report recently established that about 565 000 people faced starvation during the months of January and March.
The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) monthly report for March stated that food was still being highly politicised by Zanu PF activists who compiled lists of people in need of aid.
“The distribution of farming inputs and food handouts still remains highly politicised, and it is mostly done by those who compile the lists, who in most cases are Zanu PF activists,” the ZPP report read. “According to Section 77 (b) of the Constitution, every person has the right to sufficient food regardless of political or other affiliation.”
ZPP said subsidised food or other aid like the Presidential Agricultural Inputs Scheme should be availed to every person and communities through transparent mechanisms.
They listed a total of eight food violation cases during the month of March in Manicaland (2), Mashonaland Central (2), Mashonaland East (2) and Mashonaland West (2) provinces.
“There are signs of acute food shortages observed in areas such as Buhera and Makoni. Buhera is a drought-prone area and the 2014/15 agriculture season has been worse after the crop failed to mature. This farming season, Makoni has similar challenges after a prolonged dry spell. The people in those areas are already appealing to NGOs (non-governmental organisations) to assist them,” the organisation said.
Before Parliament adjourned in March, MDC-T MPs quizzed Agriculture minister Joseph Made over the issue of politicisation of food aid during question-and-answer sessions.
Made said if they had evidence of such happenings, they should report the culprits so that he as minister would take appropriate action.
Recently, Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission chairperson Elasto Mugwadi told NewsDay that the commission had received complaints over politicisation of food relief and would begin investigating them.
A recent report by the World Food Programme on Zimbabwe said the 2013/14 agricultural season was good and produced an estimated 1 456 000 metric tonnes of maize which was much higher compared to previous seasons.
The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee established that approximately 6% of the rural population, which is equivalent to 565 000 people, will be in need of food assistance at the height of the lean season between January and March 2015.