BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Unco-ordinated collection and disbursement of donations towards relief efforts for Cyclone Idai victims in Manicaland and Masvingo provinces has created gaps and loopholes, which are being manipulated by corrupt people, it has emerged.
A truck carrying aid from Harare was yesterday reportedly almost hijacked by youths in Zanu PF regalia, who demanded that the sugar, mealie meal and blankets on the haulage truck be off-loaded at the Mutare party office.
The truck driver, who refused to be named, said he was stopped as he headed to government offices to deliver the aid and was ordered to offload the goods at the Zanu PF offices in Mutare.
“I resisted and drove to the government offices where I delivered the goods and got a receipt of acknowledgement of donations,” he said.
Contacted for comment, Zanu PF Manicaland provincial chairperson Mike Madiro said he was the one who suggested the centralisation of donations for
accountability and transparency purposes.
“I was the first person to go to Chimanimani when the disaster struck and appealed to the government in the first instance and also I am appealing for donations regardless of political affiliation,” he said. “And it’s me who said that let’s centralise the issue of donations for accountability and transparency. I think you need to investigate this so that you can find the truth.”
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has also raised the red flag following reports that donations and aid trickling into Chimanimani and Chipinge were being looted along the delivery chain.
According to the Information ministry, Mnangagwa warned that those caught corruptly benefiting from the donations will not be spared.
“Yesterday (Monday) His Excellency President ED spoke on the issue of certain donated items not reaching the point of need with so many giving through everyone, transparency and accountability becomes a big issue, donations need to be receipted and traceable,” the ministry said.
Zimbabweans both at home and abroad have joined hands in different ways and platforms pooling donations in the forms of cash, fuel, clothes and bedding.
Churches have amassed truckloads of food stuffs, political parties mainly Zanu PF and MDC have also rallied their supporters for donations towards relief efforts, but distribution has not been co-ordinated.
Information secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana said: “We are aware that people are pulling in the same direction and that is commendable, but there must be accountability. Donations should reach intended beneficiaries, government will account so should private organisations,” he said.