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    Sunday, 16 October 2016

    Gutu North MP makes enquiry on politicisation of food aid


    GUTU -
    Zanu PF Gutu North MP Ticharwa Madondo recently went to Nyazvidzi Small scale Farming Area and held a public meeting at Chinanaira Business Centre where he made public enquiries on allegations of rampant politicisation of food aid in the area.
    Recently the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) investigated complaints of politicisation of food aid and found out that the practice was rampant in five constituencies throughout Zimbabwe including Bikita East.
    ZHRC chairman, Elasto Hilarious Mugwadi said the perpetrators were mainly Zanu PF politicians and senior Government officials and warned that politicisation of food aid was a violation of international and local laws which can lead to prosecution.
    Nyazvidzi was a hotbed of political violence where some people were severely assaulted and some killed in the rerun of the 2008 general elections.
    The enquiry followed complaints that deserving people were not receiving food aid in Nyazvidzi East because the area was perceived to be predominantly MDC T.
    The enquiry by MP Madondo was made in the presence of known perpetrators and top dogs of political violence and ultimately many were bound not to open up, said sources at the meeting. While the MP could be well-meaning in his call for fair distribution of food, many of those on the receiving end said they have lost hope, given up and are no longer making representations including attending food aid meetings.

    "We are saying that if you look at the list of beneficiaries of food aid, there are many undeserving people on it and these include youth, pensioners, able bodied political activists and some business people and yet there are 80 and 90-year-olds who cannot make it onto the list," complained Philip Mahachi who is one of the farmers in the area.
    Mahachi alleged that the compilation and approval of the list is not done transparently.
    "There are two powerful people on food aid committees, the Zanu PF chairman, Charles Gondongwe and the councillor Jadson Mashavira who run the show. They determine who gets food aid and who doesn't. They can remove and add names to the list as they wish.
    The reports that Ndakaziva Mhizha (88), a granny from Nyazvidzi East starved to death was also dismissed as a mere rumour.
    One woman known as Eunice Rubere said that there is plenty of food at the Mhizha homestead that the granny could not have died of hunger.
    However, Artwell Mavetera, a neighbour to the Mhizhas said there was a high possibility that Mbuya Mhizha died of hunger. He said Mbuya Mhizha approached him twice looking for food and he gave her.
    "She approached me twice and I gave her food to eat. After eating she walked away. What guarantee is there that she did not die from hunger if she suffered hunger?" asked Mavetera.
    Madondo emphasised that there should be no politicisation of food aid and added that the food aid was for everyone who qualified. He however, warned members of the opposition who complained a lot that they risked being left out of the food allocations.
    "Ndakati mapato anopikisa ngaadye zvauya akanyarara, ndikati vanotaurisa varikukumbira kunyimwa. (I said that opposition political parties should get their share of the food aid without making baseless noise. If you do, you risk being left out of the food aid programme," said Madondo.
    He (Madondo) however, acknowledged that 88-year-old Mbuya Mhizha was not on the list of those who were supposed to benefit from the food aid.
    Some farmers said what Madondo said is not what is implemented by the duo of Gondongwe and Mashavira.
    "These two; Mashavira and Gondongwe have the final say. They add and remove names from the list willy-nilly. Madondo has not solved anything by holding this meeting because these people will never change.
    "The best thing to do is for the MP to allow independent investigations is to take place. The investigators must go through the list and see if all beneficiaries are indeed within the set criteria. They should also look into the composition of the food committees and find out why elderly and disabled people are being denied food aid," said a villager identified as Mutsengi.
    Gondongwe acknowledged that there were two people including himself who were receiving food aid at his farm. He said he was receiving food aid because he he had too many orphans that he looked after.
    Gondongwe is however, able bodied, active and the prioritisation of his name compared to 90-year-old who are not getting food aid is baffling.
    Mashavira could not be reached for comment.news
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