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'No one will die of hunger' is a heartless statement!

06 Mar 2024 at 22:58hrs | Views
What exactly does the Zimbabwe government mean by saying that no one will die of hunger in the country?

We have heard this being assured by President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa on numerous occasions.

This is against the backdrop of a severe El Nino induced drought, aggravated by gross government incompetence, that has left at least 3.5 million Zimbabweans facing acute food insecurity (according to FAO).

To me, this statement is meaningless and actually denotes an element of heartlessness.

Let me put it in another way.

One can ruthlessly beat up another to a pulp, but just enough not to kill them!

A person can be savagely tortured, however still being kept alive!

In other words, merely ensuring the nation not dying from hunger means virtually nothing.

It can actually mean that people will still be without enough to eat and going hungry for long periods of time - but, in all this, receiving just enough to stay alive.

Such a dire scenario can also be translated as: no one will die of hunger in Zimbabwe.

We will have those suffering from immense malnutrition.

We may even witness those enduring undernutrition.

We will likely encounter numerous emaciated children suffering from marasmus, kwashiorkor, and stunted growth.

Yet, in all this, no one actually losing their life.

In fact, researchers believe that a human being can live for up to three weeks without food as long as they have water to drink.

Can that not be defined as: no one dying of hunger in Zimbabwe!

So, again, I ask: what will Mnangagwa be saying when he repeatedly uses this statement?

As far as I am concerned, for any government to opt for such a vague and empty phraseology is more than a bit disconcerting.

Why is Mnangagwa not coming out in the open and bravely declaring that there will be enough food for everyone in Zimbabwean?

Not simply enough to keep them alive but well-fed and receiving all the globally stipulated nutritional requirements.

The government of Zimbabwe has an obligation not only to ensure that all citizens' right to life is preserved (as stated in section 48 of the Constitution), but also have access to sufficient food (section 77).

The operative word here is 'sufficient'.

This means that Zimbabweans have a right to food, which is adequate for all their nutritional needs - not just enough to keep them from dying.

That is the language we are not hearing from the Mnangagwa administration.

Already, based on statistics from UNICEF, an estimated 1.7 million children in Zimbabwe will need urgent humanitarian assistance this year.

Zimbabwean children - 23.5 percent or over half a million - are stunted (chronically malnourished) and do not grow and develop to their full potential.

Last year alone, 4,300 children were admitted in hospital for wasting, which the WHO describes as acute malnutrition and a sign that a child has experienced short periods of undernutrition.

This results in significant wastage of muscle and fat tissue - which means that their weight is very low for their height.

Furthermore, most families in Zimbabwe have resorted to restricting their meals per day to only one.

All this is due to unimaginable poverty and lack of access to sufficient food.

Yet, in all this, no one has been reported as having died from hunger!

So, is that what Mnangagwa considers the ideal scenario and his ambition?

No one in Zimbabwe will die under his watch!

However, millions will be suffering because of not having sufficient food.

Does that not bother him at all?

Before signing off, there is one more question I need to ask.

How does one count deaths caused by hunger?

Surely, this can not simply be those who lose their lives as a direct result of starvation.

What about those perishing from various other ailments that found an opportunity due to a compromised immune system?

We all know that a strong immune system is a result of healthy living - most essential being regular nutritional meals.

Would such people not have died from hunger?

As such, in real terms, can we genuinely claim that there are no Zimbabweans already dying from hunger?

Food for thought.

© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate and writer. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +26371566700 | +263782283975, or email:, or visit website:

Source - Tendai Ruben Mbofana
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