By Staff Reporter
Harare, October 18, 2016 – THE Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) continues to raise alarm over the partisan distribution of food aid to Zanu PF supporters by some party officials and civil servants in various parts of the country.
Zimbabwe battles a serious grain deficit that has seen a lot of rural households starve.
The recurrent crisis worsened in the last few months due to the El Nino induced drought which left millions in dire need of food assistance while children also dropped out of some rural schools due to hunger.
In spite of the dire circumstances, traditional leaders and councillors, among some Zanu PF linked individuals, have been fingered in countless acts of food discrimination both as bait for Zanu PF support and to spite perceived ruling party opponents.
ZPP said in a report on Monday the controversial practice still continues especially in rural Mashonaland provinces.
“The Zimbabwe Peace Project is gravely concerned by the continued discrimination of other citizens in the distribution of food thus violating their right to food,” said the rights group in a statement.
“ZPP is worried by the deliberate exclusion of other citizens in the distribution of food when most Zimbabweans are struggling as the food situation is dire considering that most granaries are dry.”
ZPP further said that the practice was recently witnessed in Norton where there is a by-election this coming weekend in which Zanu PF is fielding a candidate.
Some of the cases cited by ZPP include one in Mashonaland East province where some parents and guardians of MDC-T supporters are barred from receiving food aid.
ZPP cited two cases in which two elderly women villagers, aged 60 and 70, were told to participate in a food for work programme in the area if they wanted to benefit while their peers were accessing food by virtue of being senior citizens.
In Mashonaland Central’s Muzarabani South area, food aid programmes which were intended to benefit six people per village saw only Zanu PF members benefitting while opposition supporters were barred from registering for food aid.
Similarly, in Masvingo, army trucks and officers were deployed to transport and redistribute maize making it difficult for people to air their grievances regarding food distribution.
Zanu PF politicians who have previously been implicated in partisan food redistribution programmes in the past include Buhera South MP Joseph Chinotimba.
Party officials including President Robert Mugabe, his deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa and Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Prisca Mupfumira have on different occasions denied any food discrimination tendencies by Zanu PF linked individuals.
The US government said in an embassy statement last month its food aid programmes in Zimbabwe were free from any abuse by Zanu PF officials.