PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has denied claims his party was in the habit of diverting food aid meant for distribution among needy communities across the country for parcelling out to Zanu PF supporters alone, leaving known opposition supporters to starve.
The 92 year-old leader was speaking during his belated birthday interview with ZBC-TV aired Thursday evening.
The interview covered a lot of issues around the Zimbabwean leader’s personal life and also as president.
Asked to reassure Zimbabweans no one shall be allowed to starve as a result of being denied food aid during the current devastating drought period, Mugabe denied his government and party were distributing food along partisan lines.
“We never talk of any politics when we are distributing food,” Mugabe said.
“Food is distributed to people regardless of their affiliations. In the rural areas, you don’t go asking, are you Zanu PF, are you not. No we don’t mind the politics of the people.
“It doesn’t matter to which party they belong whether it be MDC-T or MDC-Z or what or People First, or People second or people third, we just give them.”
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai last month threatened to unleash his followers who would have been discriminated against to go and demand for their share in GMB food depots which would be holding the food.
The food, usually sourced by government and non-governmental organisations, is allegedly used by Zanu PF activists as both a bait for new supporters and punishment for not supporting the ruling party.
“There is indeed going to be huge national demand for transparency and non-partisan distribution of food by our supporters in parts of the country,” Tsvangirai said then.
“If Zanu PF continues to hand out food on a partisan basis, then we will tell our people to demand food and to access that food, even if it means to be arrested for demanding food.
“…how does a govt or any right thinking person think that you can distribute food on a partisan basis and allow people to starve without even question, even if one is docile, when it comes to food, I see people standing up.
“Zanu PF should stand warned that we have told our supporters throughout the country to be vigilant and to boldly demand their share of what they should legitimately get from government.”
Tendai Biti’s PDP has also moved to appoint shadow councillors throughout the country to watch over the distribution of food aid mostly by traditional leaders aligned to Zanu PF.
In its monthly reports on cases of politically motivated violence cases, the Zimbabwe Peace Project has constantly reported about endless cases of partisan food aid distribution.