‘Politicisation of aid rampant during COVID-19 lockdown’

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

THE COVID-19-induced lockdown exposed vulnerable Zimbabweans to food aid discrimination on political grounds, a report by a human rights watchdog has said.

The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) ,in its March report, revealed that food aid was being politicised across the country as poverty stalked many.

“Politicisation of food and other aid remained prevalent across the country and ZPP registered 27 cases of food and other aid discriminations,” the human rights watchdog said in the report.

“‘This was made worse by the fact that throughout 2020, lockdown restrictions had caused consistent disruptions to economic activity. The poor, hardworking citizens who live from hand to mouth and have no savings had endured two months with no income and social support from the government.”

Government has on several occasions warned against food politicisation, but the vice remains in practice with Zanu PF officials often cited as the main culprits, particularly prior to election, but the party denies the charge.

ZPP said it recorded 221 human rights’ violations in March, with many blamed on police enforcing COVID-19 regulations.

“The harassment of citizens by State security agents continued. ZPP recorded 79 cases with the police once again leading the list of perpetrators, making up 37,61% of perpetrators of human rights violations logged in March 2021,” ZPP said.

Police have been on several occasions taken to court for human rights violations during the lockdown period.

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