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Red Cross rubbishes reports of cyclone aid politicisation

by Staff reporter
27 Mar 2019 at 22:54hrs | Views
REPORTS of politicisation of aid for Cyclone Idai victims, which have mainly been emanating from the local opposition, were yesterday dismissed by the International Red Cross with its country director in Zimbabwe Mr Paolo Cernuschi saying everything was being done transparently.

Mr Cernuschi made the remarks as more countries continued to provide assistance to Zimbabwe.

The ruling Zanu-PF, accused of seeking political mileage and allegedly looting goods for the disaster survivors, also strongly refuted the claims yesterday.

The opposition has been peddling false reports of alleged politicisation and looting of aid to scare away help and deepen the crisis.

Posting in his Twitter handle yesterday after visiting Chipinge, Mr Cernuschi said: "I attended a distribution in Chipinge today for 200 families. Selection was transparent. 2 humanitarian agencies were present. No political statements made or implied. While reports of politicisation of #CycloneIdai aid are concerning, I'm happy to have seen none of that today."

Zanu-PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said aid distribution was being done in a transparent manner and that the ruling party was not manipulating processes.

"The Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, through the Civil protection Department, is the one in charge, assisted by non-governmental organisations and the Department of Social Welfare. No political party is involved," he said.

He explained that Zanu-PF had volunteered some of its vehicles in the initial stages of rescue and relief efforts out of compassion.

Ironically, the opposition had been criticising the ruling party of doing nothing only to turn around when the party offered its hand and vehicles. But Khaya Moyo said the party had no intention of meddling in the distribution as it would fall into a trap.

"We know what animals we are dealing with and we are avoiding any controversy and the machinery of distributing aid is intact and things are under control," he said. The ruling party's Youth League secretary, Togarepi Pupurai expressed anger at accusations that the party was allegedly looting aid meant for the hapless villagers.

"We note with concern unsubstantiated reports doing rounds in both the social and mainstream media alleging that our members in Manicaland, the area hit hardest by Cyclone Idai, are looting donations" he said in a statement last night.

"Of course such reports are grave and indeed of major concern, and as the Zanu-PF Youth League we would like to set the record straight and unequivocally state that our members are disciplined and would never loot from fellow countrymen stricken by a natural disaster of such calamitous proportions.

"We are a party defined by ideology and thus we adhere steadfastly to the principles of Ubuntu that identify us as Zimbabweans and products of the liberation struggle when our freedom fighters lived among the masses executing the liberation struggle.

"It is within such a prism that our members are currently helping affected families through the distribution of food and other essentials to affected families. Of course most of the vehicles being used are branded Zanu-PF but the nation should be rest assured that there is no partisan food distribution but rather a concerted effort by everyone including our youths to ensure that every resource available is channelled towards assisting those in need," he said.

He explained that the ruling party membership, including graduates from the National Youth Service, had risked life and limb  rescuing fellow countrymen and recovering bodies of those who died when tragedy struck, most of them are members of Zanu-PF and are leading by example in the rescue operations.

"Their work is voluntary," he emphasised.

Source - chronicle