Opposition leader Busha cautions against abuse of Cyclone aid

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By Idah Mhetu

OPPOSITION Free Zim Congress leader Joseph Busha has urged the Zanu PF led government to ensure survivors of the recent Cyclone Idai disaster were the main beneficiaries of forms of aid being donated in their name.

He was speaking to during a Friday tour of disaster hit Chimanimani district where he donated groceries worth thousands of dollars in different collection centres.

“Government needs to make sure that the beneficiaries of this are the victims and not people are not supposed to benefit,” he said.

“They also need to assist people in terms of building structures and materials. So, I think this is where humanity and social responsibility of government needs to be seen.”

He added, “The biggest challenge when it comes to relief aid is that there is always manipulation of the process and there can be people who benefit who are not supposed to benefit and officials do not really care.”

Over 300 Zimbabweans died during the country’s worst weather induced disaster in decades.

More were left missing amid concerns they were swept away by ferocious floods.

The disaster attracted an overwhelming world response which saw locals, firms, NGOs and foreigners channel millions of funds and other forms of aid towards the plight of those who lost livelihoods during the catastrophe.

However, what has been a heartwarming story of sheer benevolence has been spoiled by reports some officials tasked to distribute the aid to deserving communities have been looting the donations.

Addressing the media recently, local government Minister July Moyo admitted some government officials entrusted with the job were among those helping themselves on the donations.

During his visit, Busha said government should also not forget Cyclone victims once all the publicity around the disaster was over.

He likened the situation to hundreds of Nigerian school girls whose 2014 abduction by Boko Haram militants attracted world outrage but the matter has almost been forgotten.

“Look at the Nigerian girls. People made noise and two months down the line, they forgot. So I think the victims of the Cyclone might fall in the same trap where we all make noise and then forget them in terms of what assistance they may require.”

Busha urged donors and the business community to continue extending their kindness to the affected people.

“I would like to urge members of the media, donors, business people and the government to continue and find a permanent solution for the victims. Even in our planning as we plan for human resettlement, we need to also consider the disasters that might come because of the climate change,” he said.