via Traditional leaders & councillors named in partisan food distribution | SW Radio Africa by Tererai Karimakwenda November 4, 2013
A human rights activist from Manicaland has exposed several traditional leaders and ZANU PF councillors who are distributing government food along partisan lines, denying the MDC-T and other opposition supporters.
Peter Chanetsa, who monitors the Chimanimani area, told SW Radio Africa that villagers in Chimanimani East have been victimized the most, with sabhukus and ZANU PF councillors running the maize, seed and fertilizer distribution programmes.
The supplies are distributed through the government’s Grain Marketing Board, which then forwards them to local districts where councillors and village heads, known as sabhukus, take over. The GMB itself is off limits to MDC-T members.
“In ward 7 there is Councillor Elijah Mugede and ward 12 there is Councillor Micah Chimene . In ward 16 there is Tendayi Nyabanga, a female councillor who is also the vice-chairperson for Chimanimani Rural District Council,” Chanetsa said.
ZANU PF ‘won’ these local seats in the last election, despite majority support for the MDC-T in the area.
As for traditional leaders, he named sabhuku Timothy Madziyanike at Mutambu village in ward 7 and Judah Nyabvute at Mumvumbura village, also ward7.
According to Chanetsa, a bucket of maize cost about three dollars just a few months ago before the elections in July. The same bucket, which is roughly 20 kilograms, now costs between seven and ten dollars. Chanetsa said a family of six can barely survive for a week on one bucket.
George Makoni, Information officer for the Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ), said the partisan food distribution is polarizing communities in many other ways, where everything from local development to church events are viewed from a political perspective and with suspicion.
“The polarization of communities actually worsened since the collapse of the inclusive government. The tension increased towards elections and this resulted in the widening of differences, which has continued until now,” Makoni told SW Radio Africa.
He added: “The food itself is not enough and there is a distribution exercise by ZANU PF officials in charge, whereby they deny MDC supporters who they say have a western regime-change agenda and tell them to go to Britain to get their food.”
Makoni said people are going hungry and the situation is further worsened by the fact that there was a drought in the country last year and food stocks were already lower than usual. In addition, most cannot afford to buy seeds and other inputs that contribute to a good harvest.
The CCDZ released a report last week which said that there has also been partisan recruitment of staff in parastatals and mines under ZANU PF control, and MDC-T supporters are being left out of decision making processes.
In a statement last Thursday, the MDC-T condemned the ZANU PF partisanship, especially “at a time when the people of Zimbabwe are facing severe food shortages due to drought, high unemployment and high levels of corruption in ZANU PF where government agricultural inputs are looted.”