BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE
ZANU PF activists have been accused of politicising a food relief programme at Sifanjani village ward 13 in Gwanda Central, leaving opposition supporters, widows and orphans out in the cold.
On January 20, government partners provided food relief for villagers registered under the programme.
However, villagers said there was unfair distribution as mainly Zanu PF supporters, most of who are on the list of beneficiaries under the social welfare programmes, allegedly ensured that non-party members were sidelined from the food relief programme.
“Please note the councillor was also registered as a beneficiary of the programme. So, naturally, he is bound to say everything was done above board. Village heads were also registered to benefit from the said programmes. Some widows and orphans were left out of this programme,” an affected villager, who refused to be named, said.
“The injustice here is that political party (certain) activists, who are already beneficiaries of the social welfare programme, are the very people who were registered for this (food relief programme), while there are people who have never benefited from these drought relief programmes.”
The villager said the exercise was a farce.
“We saw three Zanu PF cards being moved around by two functionaries, but one can always guess it was some kind of reminder to those doing the physical registration that Zanu PF members were to be given first priority,” he said.
The villagers added that there was no proper vetting in place during the whole exercise as it continued to put Zanu PF functionaries ahead of everyone else.
Some 475 people were registered from three villages — Sifanjani, Mawane One and Mawane Two.
Ward 13 councillor Miclas Ndlovu said the criteria used by the non-governmental organisations was different and he had nothing to do with it.
“I had nothing to do with the registration in the area, it was the traditional leaders, secretaries, including the community who were responsible for registration and the criteria used by the organisations was different,” Ndlovu said.
Zanu PF Matabeleland South provincial chairperson Rabaleni Choeni said he was not aware of the misnomer before hanging up his phone. “I do not know that,” Choeni said curtly.
Matabeleland South province is hit by severe food shortages after facing successive droughts since 2018, leaving communities food insecure.