via Inputs distribution gets ugly | The Zimbabwean 30.10.13 by Sofia Mapuranga
As reports continue to come in from around the country of MDC-T supporters being denied access to farming inputs for the new season, a senior Zanu (PF) official has admitted there is not enough to go round.
Official spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said it was the party’s “mandate and wish” that all citizens could benefit from government programmes. “It is unfortunate that members of the opposition are being side-lined in the distribution of inputs. But what can we do if the inputs are not enough?” said Gumbo. “The Zanu (PF) led government would want a situation where everyone benefits from the exercise.”
Gumbo’s comments follows pleas by villagers in Rukawu and Kaunye area under Chief Mutoko for government intervention following the partisan distribution of farming inputs last week at Rukawu business centre.
The villagers accused the local Zanu (PF) leaders of defying a government directive to distribute the inputs irrespective of political party affiliation. Tonderai Gwabada, who contested the seat in the area on an MDC Ncube ticket said: “It is disturbing that the traditional leaders were present as the fertiliser was given to Zanu (PF) supporters only and they did not do anything about it.”
Chiedza Kakungwa from ward 16 in Kaunye urged government to make follow ups and ensure transparency in the distribution of inputs to ensure that citizens benefit from government programmes. She revealed that some of the beneficiaries were already selling the inputs.
According to information gathered by this newspaper close to 600 out of 1 900 households benefited from the 50 kilograms of fertiliser that was distributed.
A headman suspected of being an MDC-T supporter has been denied access to the latest government agricultural input scheme. Zanu (PF) officials led by Mutasa Senator and Minister of Women’s Affairs, Oppah Muchinguri, and some losing councillors have been accused of hijacking the input scheme and denying MDC-T supporters access.
Mutasa district received 159 tonnes of seed maize, 1,070 tonnes Of Compound D and 1,240 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate fertilisers. The inputs are being distributed from GMB depots. According to Agritex, every household should get 10kgs seed maize, 50kg Ammonium Nitrate and 50kg Compound D.
It is alleged that the Zanu (PF) officials are instructing its local councillors some of whom have lost the elections and headmen to compile lists of the beneficiaries, side lining MDC-T supporters in the process.
“All other headmen in the constituency have received the inputs except me. The Zanu (PF) councillor who lost the election to an MDC-T councillor is the one who came up with the list,” said Headman James Mukoyi from ward 16 – who has been accused of participating in the Gonde Irrigation Project, a project initiated by MDC-T.
Mudzi South Member of Parliament, Jonathan Samkange, confirmed receiving reports from his supporters that they had been side-lined when the inputs were distributed in Nyamande, Donzwe, Makaha, Goromonzi, Mapombo and Mavhurazi areas among others.
“Yes, my supporters are discriminated against. I have text messages from my supporters confirming this and they are targeted because they have openly supported me during the campaigning period,” said Samkange.
Mudzi West Member of Parliament, Aquilinah Katsande, said in her constituency farming inputs were distributed transparently and all villagers despite their political affiliation had benefited from the exercise.
“Since the inputs came on time, the traditional leadership in the constituency in consultation with the district administrator made a resolution that everyone would benefit despite their political affiliation. Each household was given the inputs and the 10 kilograms of seed were distributed fairly per ward. However, some households did not get anything because the inputs were few,” she said.
Katsande said this was in line with the directive by the party’s leadership to distribute the inputs fairly and on a non-partisan basis.
“The electorate looks up to the winning leadership and we are saying that we are a government for the people so everyone is entitled to the inputs,” she added.