THE MDC-T has urged President Robert Mugabe and his government to urgently declare the current food crisis a state of emergency to pave way for the distressed country to start harnessing the necessary resources to avert mass starvation.
This follows claims by Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Prisca Mupfumira that the number of citizens needing urgent food assistance has doubled from last year’s 1,5 million to 3 million.
In a statement, MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu condemned the “lackadaisical” handling of the impending food crisis by the Zanu PF led administration.
“As the MDC, we would like to call upon President Robert Mugabe not to waste any more time before his government declares a state of emergency,” Gutu said.
“It doesn’t make good planning sense for the government to wait until people start starving before it treats the impeding drought with the seriousness that it obviously deserves.”
The demands by the MDC-T follow similar calls by the EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Phillipe van Damme this past week the country must declare the looming drought a state of emergency to open up the devastating situation to outside assistance.
The main opposition railed against the current government for allegedly remaining cluelessness in the face of the looming disaster.
The entire sub-region faces the same fate but the MDC-T reserved specific blame for the Zimbabwean government for allegedly being least prepared for the catastrophe.
To avoid similar disasters in future, Gutu said, the government should revisit its skewed land reform process which allegedly benefited those who have failed to utilise their land to provide enough food for the nation.
The MDC-T spokesperson slammed the government for misplaced priorities as was shown by its plans to recruit more soldiers and police officers into an already blotted government workforce while citizens are going hungry.
“Reports that both the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) as well as the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) are planning to recruit more than 30 000 new recruits each are therefore quite depressing and unfortunate,” Gutu said.
“Instead of wasting our limited financial and material resources on building up a massive security system, the Zanu PF government should, instead, focus more on feeding the millions of starving people and also resuscitating the ailing economy.”
The former deputy minister of justice said the government should redirect the country’s scarce financial resources towards importing much needed grain to feed the starving masses.
He reiterated calls for President Mugabe to abandon his expensive birthday bash planned for Masvingo next month and instead redirect the $800 000 set to be raised towards grain imports.