via Hunger strikes Mat North as ZPF continues partisan food distribution | SW Radio Africa by Tererai Karimakwenda November 14, 2013
A victim of the ZANU PF policy of distributing food along political party lines has spoken out about corrupt officials who are denying them maize, seeds and fertilizer, while selling some of the donated supplies for profit.
The woman, a villager from the Jambezi district of Binga in Matabeleland North, chose not to be identified fearing reprisals. But she described how the local ZANU PF chairperson and his secretary told MDC-T members to leave or join their party.
“We refused and told him that we don’t wear a jacket that is not our own. Then we got up and left,” the woman told SW Radio Africa on Thursday. Speaking with a hint of the local Tonga accent, she narrated how they were told to get food from the MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
The local ZANU PF chairperson, Saul Sibanda and his secretary Imelda Nkomo, were named as the officials responsible for this partisan food distribution. Our contact also alleged that some of the seeds and fertilizer were being sold by the local Councillor in Chikandakuri ward.
According to the villager, traditional chief Shana summoned Sibanda and Nkomo to his court to discuss the effects of their actions and explained that food was not a political but human right that they should respect.
“They went to the meeting with Chief Shana but because we are in the rural areas they always do what they want and say the Chief is mad, vanopenga,” our contact said. The only way to get help is to surrender all MDC-T documents and regalia and join ZANU PF structures.
The partisan distribution of food has been used as a political weapon by ZANU PF for many years. And the practice has intensified in the few months since ZANU PF and Robert Mugabe declared a landslide victory in the disputed July 31st elections, which are known to have been widely rigged.
Reports have been received from hungry villagers countrywide who are being denied food, at a time when millions of Zimbabweans are facing hunger.
A statement from Human Rights NGO Forum on Thursday said: “At a time when the government is pleading with the international community for re-admission into the international fold and for the world to feed its estimated 2.2 million people who are facing starvation, one would think they would begin to soften on their legacy of human rights violations”.
Large commercial farms that produced food for the nation were invaded during the chaotic so-called land redistribution exercise, with ZANU PF chefs taking over and dividing them into small holder plots. Most of these small scale farms now produce tobacco, mainly for the Chinese market.