BY OBEY MANAYITI
GOVERNMENT yesterday took delivery of part of the $14,7 million worth of rice donated by China amid fears that the donation was meant to oil Zanu PF’s campaign machinery ahead of next year’s general elections.
Speaking at the handover ceremony in Harare, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Priscah Mupfumira said the donation would go a long way in helping needy communities, particularly hospitals, prisons, old people’s homes and children’s homes.
Among those who benefited yesterday were First Lady Grace Mugabe Children’s Home and many others who received an average of five tonnes each. Hospitals and prisons were given 120 tonnes each.
Mupfumira said there were many food-insecure households affected by cyclone Dineo and excessive rainfall received during the last summer season.
“In view of this, China has again made another donation of 12 500 metric tonnes for distribution to the vulnerable of society. This donation from our friends will go a long way in mitigating the effects of floods-caused hunger,” she said.
“It is therefore my ministry’s mandate to ensure that the distribution of rice will focus on vulnerable households who include the elderly, chronically ill, persons with disabilities and child-headed households, flood victims, victims of other disasters, registered institutions accommodating vulnerable children, schools and hospitals.”
Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Huang Ping said the donation was a follow-up to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit in 2015.
The rice donation comes at a time when Zimbabwe is boasting of a bumper harvest in the previous season owing to the command agriculture and when the ruling party has upped its 2018 election campaign where foodstuffs and other goodies are distributed at campaign rallies.