By Roy Chikara
Chikwanda, October 25, 2013 – President Robert Mugabe’s well-wishers agricultural inputs scheme will only benefit members of his Zanu PF party to reward them for voting him into power during the July harmonised elections, a top government official has said.
Davis Marapira, the Deputy Agriculture Minister disclosed this during an address to thousands of villagers in Chikwanda communal lands in Masvingo north constituency on Thursday.
Marapira said the Presidential inputs scheme will not benefit a single supporter of the Morgan Tsvangirai led MDC-T party, who he accused of being traitors.
“We will be distributing these inputs to you to thank you for supporting our party and President. You voted resoundingly for us and this is your reward. The inputs will be for our party supporters who have remained loyal to the party,” said Marapira during the launch of the scheme at provincial level.
Marapira, who is the legislator for the constituency said the party will distribute the inputs to its members in the villages although the scheme is being disguised as a government programme that is supposed to benefit all people regardless of political affiliation.
President Mugabe launched his agricultural inputs scheme last week and promised to give villagers assistance ahead of this year’s agricultural season. Over 200 000 people in Masvingo province are set to benefit from the scheme according to the deputy minister.
The inputs include maize seed, sorghum and ammonium nitrates and lime fertilizer.
The inputs will be distributed per each household as a measure to combat perennial food shortages in the country.
However known MDC-T party supporters and activists in the villages have been sidelined from benefiting from the programme in the province.
“Those who opposed our party should not waste their time to come when we distribute the inputs, we will screen our members and make sure that they are the ones to get the inputs. Why should our enemies want to benefit from our programme, we are now in our own government and we will do things our way,” Marapira said.
President Mugabe launched the controversial $20 million Presidential farming inputs scheme in 2012 that exclusively benefitted Zanu PF supporters.
Although the source of the funds remains unknown, media reports indicated that the Zanu PF leader received the money from Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
The octogenarian leader is well-known for using farming inputs and implements to drum up support for his party. Over the past decade he has roped in the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to parcel out farm equipment under the farm mechanisation programme and some other quasi-fiscal activities which have been blamed for plunging the country’s economy.
Zimbabwe is struggling with a food deficit affecting 2.2 million people blamed on poor harvests despite the grabbing of productive farm land from white commercial farmers by Mugabe’s Zanu PF supporters who have failed to utilize the land productively.