Panafrican News Agency

Zimbabwe Peace Project says food aid is being distributed along party lines

Harare, Zimbabwe (PANA) - Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) has reported that food aid continues to be deprived to communities based on political party affiliation.

In its July Monthly Monitoring Report released on Tuesday, the church and human rights based organisation, reported that food aid continued to be distributed along party lines despite the rise in food insecure persons in the country.

Causing the food insecurity is the drought and the worsening macro-economic climate buoyed by the devaluing local currency.

“The continued deprivation of food aid to the vulnerable due to political affiliation is a worrying trend that must be addressed immediately. Section 77 in the Zimbabwean Constitution clearly provides for the right to food. The state has the obligation to ensure that right is provided for all citizens whatever their political persuasion,” ZPP said.

“Conflicting reports from government officials in acknowledging that there indeed is discrimination in food allocation is worrying to say the least.”

Local Government, Public Works and National Housing minister July Moyo (chairperson of Inter-Cabinet Committee that deals with disaster and climate change) confirmed government reports on the abuse of food aid.

Moyo's confirmation on the abuse of food aid comes as Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Sekai Nzenza previously refuted these reports.

“We urge government to sincerely and honestly reflect on the many reports we have highlighted just this and proceeding months about how ZANU-PF officials are depriving deserving citizens of food aid. The 5.7 million Zimbabweans reportedly needing food aid (Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Report) will fail to get the needed assistance if partisan allocation of aid is not addressed,” ZPP said.

While the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Report showed that 5.7 million are food insecure, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube reported last month that it was actually 6.7 million.

At the heart of the economic problems are challenges around low disposable incomes, power cuts, fuel and forex shortages, high unemployment, devaluing local currency, and high pricing of basic goods and services.

“The depressed socioeconomic environment in Zimbabwe is increasingly a cause for concern as citizens are frustrated. As the environment gets ever tighter people are bound to protest,” ZPP warned.

However, Defence and War Veterans Welfare minister Oppah Muchinguri and her deputy Victor Matemadanda recently warned that the army would be deployed to quell any protests, using deadly force if need be.

“This is a disconcerting assertion by those in power, most sadly due to the fact that these sentiments were followed by deafening silence by government thus inferring agreement with Matemadanda,” ZPP said.

ZPP is an organisation that was founded in 2000 by church-based and human rights organisations.

The current members of ZPP are Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Council of Churches, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe, Counselling Services Unit, Zimbabwe Human Rights Association, Civic Education Network Trust, and Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe.

-0- PANA TZ/AR 6Aug2019