Stop politicising food hand-outs

AS THE country braves for yet another drought, government should make sure that food is not distributed on partisan grounds.

In most of the affected areas in Zimbabwe like Buhera in the Manicaland Province, villagers have been complaining that food was being distributed on partisan grounds.

According to reports, those villagers who belong to opposition political parties were being denied food, while those from the ruling Zanu PF party were benefitting from the government programme.

Zanu PF as the ruling party has an obligation to take care of all the country’s citizens regardless of their political affiliation. There should be a clear distinction between party programmes and government initiatives that are meant to benefit all.

What is happening in most rural areas, where villagers are being denied food, is a clear diversion from the principles of democracy, where every citizen is entitled to support any political party of his or her choice.

We note with concern this embarrassing development, where Zanu PF seeks to punish innocent citizens because of exercising their Constitutional right.

It only serves to show that President Robert Mugabe’s government is being hypocritical and only serves the will of the people when it suits it the most.

People are not wooed by punishment. It is one of the most archaic and barbaric way of seeking support, more so when the food is part of a government initiative. Much of these food hand-outs are donations from Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and other well-wishers, hence politicising them is unacceptable.

It is high time that the Zanu PF government delivers on its promises to serve all Zimbabweans and in this way it can even lure more supporters. While the party promised two million jobs in the build-up to the 2013 elections, instead several jobs have been lost as unemployment levels hover over 85 percent.
While it was clear that several people were starving in rural areas, The government has also left it too late to declare a hunger disaster in Zimbabwe as this could have helped the donor community including the United Nations to mobilise food on time.
Instead it sought to play its usual political card claiming all was well yet people were already starving.

In another awkward and equally perturbing manner, Mugabe recently even threatened to ban NGOs who are the source of the bulk food aid the country desperately needs.
This leaves one wondering how he intended to alleviate the problem, with his government even struggling to raise its workers’ wage bill.

It is clear that the drought in Zimbabwe is an addition to the country’s problems that are emanating from a poor economic base.

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