By Mary Taruvinga
THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has partnered the Grain Miller’s Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) in delivering and monitoring the selling of subsidised roller meal through a zonal residential system to minimise the movement of people hunting for the scarce staple.
The programme is to make the commodity easily available to consumers during the 21-day national lockdown and for customers to adhere to social distancing regulations.
GMAZ chairperson Tafadzwa Musarara announced Friday the arrangement would provide more shops to receive and sell mealie meal in residential areas.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police has agreed to be members of GMAZ nationwide supplying maize meal using a zonal system in the main seven hotspots namely Harare, Mutare, Bulawayo, Marondera, Kwekwe, Gweru and Chitungwiza,” he said.
“This arrangement will provide for more shops to receive and sell maize-meal so that consumers buy the product in their respective areas of residence. The police will provide the necessary passage and will deploy details to oversee the delivery and selling of the maize-meal.”
Musarara said the programme would run during the remaining days of the 21-day national lockdown.
“This exercise is vital in ensuring social distancing during queuing and will allow more households to buy the product at their nearest retail shop.”
In a separate statement, ZRP chief of staff (operations), Commissioner Isaac Tayengwa said State security agents deployed for the National Lockdown Operation had been directed to facilitate the passage of employees and transporters involved in delivering the mealie-meal.
“This arrangement will minimise movement of people to and from cities and towns and reduce congestion as the commodity is made available at various points. The system will allow the consumers to access the commodity from supermarkets and retail shops in areas where they stay,” he said.
The 21-day national lockdown was introduced to stop the spread of COVID-19. Zimbabwe has 13 confirmed cases, including three deaths.
Subsidised mealie-meal has been scarce and desperate consumers are being forced to spend days hunting for the commodity in supermarkets or buy it at exorbitant prices on the black market.
A 10kg of roller meal costs $80 and triple that price on the black market.