‘Shun corruption in food distribution’

Source: ‘Shun corruption in food distribution’ – The Southern Eye

GOVERNMENT should shun corruption in the distribution of food aid as the country is facing a serious food crisis due to the El Niño-induced drought, a corruption watchdog has said.

The call comes at a time when many communities in rural areas especially in the Midlands, Matabeleland South and North provinces have raised alarm over partisan distribution of food.


In a statement, corruption watchdog ACT-SA Zimbabwe country director Munyaradzi Bidi said the government should punish individuals and entities distributing food aid on partisan lines.

“ACT-SA welcomes efforts by President Emmerson Mnangagwa who is already engaging his peers in southern Africa to find collaborative ways of tackling the El Niño-induced drought. However, he should also ensure that such aid when it comes benefits the neediest of society,” Bidi said.

“Lessons drawn from previous years show that there are several incidents in which distributors of food aid favoured members of certain political parties, particularly the ruling Zanu PF, while leaving out starving non-members.

“This situation was triggered by the government’s choice of distributors who are linked to the Zanu PF political party, but disguised as civil servants and biased community leaders.”

He said the previous drought relief programmes were allegedly riddled with systematic challenges including partisanship, diversions from storage to distribution points, discrimination, challenges in cash transfers and inconsistency in selection of beneficiaries, among other things.

“Such inadequacies create opportunities for diversion and other forms of corruption which will leave many citizens hungry,” Bidi said.

ACT-SA cited examples of several incidents in which corruption took a toll. For example. It cited a case of Zanu PF’s Bubi ward 4 councillor Mbuso Siwela who has been accused of blocking some members of the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) from accessing food aid despite their names appearing on the list of beneficiaries.


“Dozens of elderly people in one of the wards in Kusile district, Matabeleland North province, have for several years been denied government food aid because they were perceived as supporters of the opposition MDC Alliance,” Bidi said.

He said there were several incidents in which the distribution of food aid has been politicised, adding that ACT-SA is demanding an overhaul of structures responsible for the selection of beneficiaries and distribution of food aid.

He said interviews conducted by ACT-SA on potential food assistance recipients in the rural areas indicated that citizens lacked trust in some of the actors who have a history of using political affiliation in deciding who benefits from food assistance.

ACT-SA is a regional, non-governmental and apolitical organisation that was set up in 2004 to campaign against corruption, and poor service delivery in southern Africa.