By Kenneth Matimaire
Chipinge, May 08, 2016 – WAR veterans here have reportedly hijacked the food aid programme meant to benefit vulnerable members of the community leading to a shortage of aid among the intended beneficiaries.
The food aid programme is being spearheaded by World Vision to ease the impact of the hunger following the El Nino induced drought period.
Chipinge has been identified as one of the districts in dire need of food aid where vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, physically challenged, child headed families and HIV and AIDS patients were selected as beneficiaries.
However, war veterans have allegedly hijacked the programme and enlisted their spouses and children as beneficiaries at the expense of the selected groups.
Member of Parliament for Musikavanhu constituency Prosper Mutseyami confirmed the development.
“Food aid is for the physically challenged, elderly above 65 years of age, child headed families below 18 years, this includes children whose parents succumbed to HIV related illnesses and those living positively. These are the people who should benefit from food distributed by social welfare and World Vision.
“Pensioners such as war veterans who receive monetary allocations (from the National Social Security Authority) every month end should not receive any food,” said Mutseyami.
“There is no war veteran who should receive money from World Vision and social welfare because they receive about $300 every month. This goes to their wives and children. They should not benefit from the scheme,” he added.
Mutseyami urged members of the community to send anonymous reports to either their immediate councilors or directly to the district administrator Edgar Seenza.
He said those found to have benefitted illegally will be struck off the beneficiaries list as has been done in other affected areas in Chipinge.
“You can call the DA directly to resolve the issue, do not be intimidated or scared to mention all those who are doing this because they are disadvantaging the intended beneficiaries. We have tried this in other areas and it has yielded results,” said Mutseyami.
War veterans receive monthly pensions from NSSA, which are around $300. Their children also receive educational allowances while their widows are also entitled to their pension benefits.
For that, they were not considered among the beneficiaries of food aid.
Several councillors in parts of Chipinge had raised the issue indicating that the programme was failing to cover the intended beneficiaries as war veterans were grabbing most of the aid.