By Dumisani Nyoni
Bulawayo, October 19, 2016 – ZANU PF activists in Bulawayo have reportedly hijacked food aid meant to benefit orphans and old people in the city, parcelling it out to party supporters.
The activists, residents further allege, were claiming the food handouts were being sent to them by “our father”, President Robert Mugabe.
Bulawayo residents on Wednesday told RadioVOP that heartless Zanu PF activists were starving orphans and those above 60, accusing them of not supporting their party.
“We are always in loggerheads with Zanu PF people who have hijacked food aid coming from the Social Welfare Department claiming it’s theirs. We have taken the matter to our leaders (residents’ association) for consideration,” said one MaNkonjeni, a city resident.
Residents said it was not the first time Zanu PF members had done that.
“They usually do that almost every year. However, what is painful is that other people are genuinely starving. Like in our case here in Emganwini, we have orphans and old people who don’t have anyone looking after them,” another resident added.
Bulawayo United Residents’ Association (BURA) chairperson, Winos Dube, confirmed receiving complaints from the residents and promised to take the issue with the relevant authorities.
“There are quite a number of challenges that have been brought to us by residents and one of those is the issue of government food aid. People are distributing the food on partisan grounds yet it should be shared fairly regardless of one’s religion and political affiliation. It’s sad that some people are resorting to using political muscles,” Dube said.
Dube said they will engage Bulawayo Provincial Affairs minister, Sandi Moyo over the issue.
Cases of partisan food distribution by Zanu PF linked individuals and groups are common in Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) recently called for the investigation and disciplining of senior government officials, who are behind partisan distribution of agricultural inputs and food aid.
It also noted that Zanu PF youths, who were not even part of the distribution committees, were involved in the distribution of food aid and agricultural inputs.
However, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, Prisca Mupfumira on Wednesday denied food aid was being distributed along partisan lines by Zanu PF.
She was responding to questions by backbenchers in parliament.