THE opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has blamed the Zanu PF government’s unco-ordinated agricultural policies, including politicisation of food aid, for spawning the country’s food shortages.
BY STAFF REPORTER
PDP secretary for agriculture Frank Chamunorwa yesterday challenged the Zanu PF regime to co-ordinate its farming policies to ensure the country reclaims its regional bread basket tag.
“The government unfortunately has exacerbated the problem with its unco-ordinated agricultural practices that led to significant reduction in irrigated crops, hence plunging a significant proportion of Zimbabweans in dire need of food relief,” Chamunorwa said.
“We applaud non-governmental organisations and other food relief organisations who have willingly come on board providing desperately needed food relief to the salvation of many. However, reports on the ground paint a totally different picture as the efforts of all concerned have been systematically abused through erratic food distribution which is now confining food distribution on partisan grounds, thereby placing those perceived not to be politically correct on the fringes and susceptible to hunger.”
He said the decision to leave the responsibility of distribution to councillors and headmen, who themselves are political animals, had not helped the situation as many families had been affected.
“Denial of food relief to deserving families has become rampant and efforts to rectify the anomalies have not yielded positive results in some areas. The situation is so critical in other areas families in fear of being left in the cold have chosen to abandon their political allegiance to opposition parties as a means of survival. Surely in a democratic country such behavioural tendencies are out of place and the government is expected to rally behind all its citizens especially in circumstances that may easily lead to unnecessary loss of lives,” he said.
“The practice is diabolical and deserves censure from all God-fearing people. Food must be distributed evenly to all deserving families in these times of crisis and no one or no party should play Russian roulette with people’s lives.”
He said reports from various provinces point to the same politicisation of food relief raising the spectre of a well-co-ordinated malpractice designed to instill fear in opposition sympathisers, a well timed ploy to coincide with the impending elections of 2018.
“Farmers have not been overly excited by the recently introduced so-called Command Agriculture. No one doubts the intentions behind this scheme in an effort to revive our agricultural production which in this particular case focuses on maize production,” Chamunorwa said.
“The manner in which it was unveiled nonetheless presupposes inadequate planning and hence shoddy implementation to the detriment of its beneficiaries. It’s also not obscene to suggest that it is prevalent with undertones of political emasculation to benefit the bigwigs and the politically correct. I may hasten to say that the casualties are on both sides of the political divide bearing in mind that recipients of farm plots are heavily skewed in favour of the revolutionary party.”
He said without sound and co-ordinated agricultural practices, there would be no production hence no industries and no jobs.