BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
CIVIC society organisations (CSOs) have blasted corrupt practices by African governments, saying they were major stumbling blocks to eradicating poverty and food insecurity on the continent.
In statements to commemorate Africa Day yesterday, CSOs said for instance, Zimbabwe has enough natural resources, but its citizens were starving due to pillaging of its natural resources through corruption.
This year’s Africa Day celebrations were held under the theme The Year of Nutrition.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) said while natural disasters can affect food security, imprudent management of economic affairs is the major cause of food insecurity.
“Corruption and misappropriation of resources has taken centre stage. One area where this manifests is in the distribution of food aid. Because of the perennial food challenges, Zimbabwe has come to heavily depend on food aid, mainly from government and humanitarian organisations. However, the distribution of food from government has largely been used to further political interests by members of the ruling elite and the cases are well-documented,” ZimRights said.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights added: “To address the widespread problem of malnutrition, government must step up efforts to tackle poverty in the country, which is inextricably linked to the issue of poor nutrition. Many families across the country have been plunged into poverty by the worsening economic crisis bedevilling the nation. The challenges of hyperinflation, unemployment, local currency instability have made it difficult for many Zimbabweans to afford basic and decent nutrition.”
In a statement, Citizens Coalition for Change secretary for international relations Gladys Hlatwayo implored African leaders and stakeholders to support the policy agenda on nutrition through concrete measures that include investing in continental food self-sufficiency, promoting intra-African trade, enhancing resilience to climate variability and enhancing investment finance in agriculture in order to improve the lives of fellow Africans.
But President Ememerson Mnangagwa has, however, attributed the worsening food crisis in Zimbabwe to climate change.
“Climate change mitigation and adaptations as well as hedging against global shocks remain critical for assured food security in our country and on the continent. We must produce what we eat,” Mnangagwa said.
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