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'Zanu-PF to superintend food distribution'

by Staff reporter
16 Apr 2024 at 07:58hrs | Views
The ruling Zanu-PF party has revealed that it will be superintending the distribution of food aid by either the government or its development partners to assist millions of citizens enduring the devastating El Niño-induced drought, NewsDay can report.

However, observers have condemned the move announced by the ruling party's national spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa at the party's headquarters in Harare yesterday.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently declared the drought a state of national disaster after low rainfall resulted in a food deficit in many areas, leaving most families in need of food aid.

The World Food Programme hunger map for 2023/24 published on January 17 this year showed that 4,1 million people face food insecurity in Zimbabwe with the number expected to rise.

Speaking at a Press conference yesterday, Mutsvangwa said the ruling party's central committee had resolved to superintend food distribution by government and food aid agencies to "make sure that no one starves".

"Zanu-PF is known for its mobilising prowess, it mobilised the rural people to fight the colonial army and it won. The party will use its organisational prowess to fight the El Niño-induced drought, which is the worst in four decades," he said.

"The party resolved to superintend all the food distribution. Government bureaucracy should know that the ruling party will superintend the food distribution in all villages to make sure no one starves."

Insiders also revealed that during the politburo and central committee meetings last week, the party spent more time deliberating on ways to maintain a stranglehold on the rural population.

Zanu-PF has for long used food handouts as a weapon to control vulnerable people in remote areas.

The ruling party fears that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and food aid agencies could influence voting patterns in its stronghold areas.

Last month, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister July Moyo warned of "decisive action" against NGOs deemed to be "mistreating" or "manipulating" the rural populace during food distribution.

This follows the introduction of a law that increases government oversight on NGOs, raising concerns about stifling independent humanitarian efforts.

Writing in a State-owned local newspaper at the weekend, Zanu-PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu warned against the exploitation of humanitarian crises for political gain.

Mpofu accused some NGOs operating in Zimbabwe of attempting to sway people under the guise of providing aid, labelling them proxies of the country's detractors.

However, independent analyst Pardon Taodzera believes the threats were a veiled attempt to silence dissent.

"Rural areas being Zanu-PF's stronghold, the government fears losing its grip if people become reliant on aid agencies, not the government," he said.

Another analyst, Margaret Makuyana, expressed concern over the potential impact of the Zanu-PF decision on food distribution.

"Food aid should be based on need, not political affiliation. Threats against NGOs will only worsen the situation for millions facing hunger," she said.

Source - newsday