By Idah Mhetu
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has given assurances there shall be no politicisation of food distribution in a country facing massive starvation due to drought.
Addressing members of the diplomatic corps accredited to Zimbabwe at State house Thursday, Mnangagwa said efforts were being made by his government to ensure food availability among citizens.
“Our immediate priority as government is to guarantee food security by ensuring that all the vulnerable households throughout the country have food. Our people are assured that there be no politicisation of food distribution,” said Mnangagwa.
Comments by the country’s number one come amid continued accusations traditional leaders, Zanu PF activists and some partisan civil servants were denying known opposition supporters food aid sourced by government and NGOs.
In its December 2019 Monthly Monitoring Report just released, the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), a local organisation that aims at building peace and promoting peaceful conflict resolution, documents several cases where people were denied food aid on political affiliation grounds.
In his speech, Mnangagwa also said the current drought being faced by the country was worsened by the negative impact of climate change.
“Indeed, the past year was also characterised by some challenges and hardships, which our people bravely endured.
“The challenges were worsened by the negative impact of climate change, which manifested through the Cyclone Idai disaster and the current drought which has severely affected agriculture production in most parts of our country,” he said.
The president also said government shall also take rigorous steps and efforts to try and alleviate the effects of drought on livestock especially in the cattle rich but dry southern parts of the country.
“We are aware of the impact of the drought on livestock, especially in the Southern parts of the country. Concerted efforts are continuing within government to mitigate the situation. We will be counting on your usual kind and generous support to augment our efforts,” he added.
Mnangagwa also called for greater engagement between Zimbabwe and the different countries on the basis of mutual respect.
He went on to announce that this year shall see government move from celebrating national events in the capital to other cities in a bid to foster national unity and inclusivity.
“In line with the government’s commitment to entrench devolution, foster national unity and inclusivity beginning this year, we will be holding our National Independence Anniversary commemorations and other national events in different parts of the country.
“As such this year’s 40th Independence Anniversary celebrations will be held in Bulawayo Province,” he said.