AT least 100 MDC-T supporters stormed the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depot in Mutasa District last Friday, protesting against alleged partisan distribution of seed and fertiliser under the Presidential Inputs Scheme.
BY KENNETH NYANGANI
The placard-waving opposition activists denounced the ruling party and traditional leaders, whom they accused of corruption and politicising government-sourced agricultural inputs.
The demonstrators, led by Mutasa Central Member of Parliament Trevor Saruwaka, defied heavy police presence and continued with the protest march.
Earlier, Saruwaka had told NewsDay that Zanu PF was abusing the Presidential Inputs Scheme by ensuring that only ruling party supporters received the inputs.
“It is stated clearly that on Presidential inputs scheme, the government and traditional leaders should be responsible in distributing to the community, but it is totally different here (in Mutasa District), as Zanu PF ward chairpersons have taken over in the distribution of the inputs and they are doing it unfairly,” Saruwaka said.
“Some traditional leaders are not doing it fairly. There are other members of the society who are being sidelined. This is why villagers of this community are demonstrating and it is their constitutional right.”
The opposition party’s Mutasa District ward 11 councillor Lilian Chadzingwa said she was part of the demonstrators to represent the under-privileged people, who for the past 10 years were not getting farming inputs under the scheme.
“We are showing our disgruntlement against Zanu PF, who are benefiting from Presidential inputs as other members of society are not benefiting. We have under-privileged people who are not benefiting from the fertilisers and other inputs distributed under the scheme,’’ he said.
The demonstrators later handed over a petition to the district’s administrator Tendai Kapenzi, who then addressed police officers, GMB officials and Saruwaka.
Part of the petition read: “It is an area of concern in Mutasa that government-supported programmes like agricultural inputs and food meant for vulnerable people in the communities are bungled. We are worried that political functionaries, with no government role, are actively involved in the distribution process. They are discriminating other needy people perceived to belong to political parties outside ruling party.”