BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
VILLAGERS in Chikomba district in Chivhu have bemoaned partisan distribution of food aid and agricultural inputs, accusing Zanu PF officials of hijacking government programmes to deny opposition supporters access to aid.
Chikomba is one of the nine districts affected by the Cyclone Idai last year, which left villagers in dire need of food aid.
Since last year, government in partnership with international donor agencies have been distributing food to hungry villagers, particularly the elderly and orphans, but the food distribution programme had been marred by accusations of politicisation.
In separate interviews with NewsDay on Friday, villagers from Hwame, Nyamande, Denhere and Mwedzi villages who preferred anonymity for fear of victimisation, said food distribution was being manipulated to exclude perceived opposition supporters.
The villagers accused community leaders like councillors, headmen and village heads of colluding to deny MDC supporters food hand-outs.
“The food distribution here is being done along party lines. When there is food aid, these Zanu PF politicians leave out deserving people and give the food to their own people with those alleged to be opposition supporters being side-lined for their political membership,” said a Hwame villager.
Ironically, the villagers were speaking on the sidelines of an event where Agriculture minister Perrance Shiri was calling for fair food distribution, warning perpetrators of grave consequences.
Shiri later commissioned two homesteads built for Cyclone Idai victims, Lolin Mudzingwa and Espina Mugariri of Hwame village in Chikomba district by property developer, Enhanced Mortgaging Housing Africa.
“The government remains dedicated to ensure that the country is food secure. Let me warn those who are responsible for the distribution of the food not to be influenced by other persuasions,” Shiri said.
“The distribution exercise should be carried out in a transparent, accountable and professional manner.”
Shiri denied having ever received reports of politicised food distribution, urging victims to report to the police and the same chiefs and headmen implicated in the vice.