By Audience Mutema
ZIMBABWEAN millers have opted for diplomacy as opposed to confrontation with government in the wake of a ban in the transportation and sale of large quantities of the staple maize grain by authorities.
Through Statutory Instrument 145 of 2019, government, through Agriculture Minister Perrance Shiri, banned individuals and companies from buying and selling maize when the country is facing a short fall of over a million tonnes of maize.
The unpopular policy directive has invited a court challenge by an Allan Markham and Clever Rambanapasi who are challenging the legality of Part V and VI of the Grain Marketing Act (Chapter 18:14) and Grain Marketing (Control of sale of maize) Regulations SI 145 of 2019.
In a statement Wednesday, the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) chairperson Tafadzwa Musarara, said it will not take part in the court action seeking the reversal of the policy measure but will opt for engagement with the powers that be.
“The milling Industry will not be participating in the ongoing litigation against Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement minister, Honourable Perrance Shiri seeking to set aside Statutory Instrument 145 in its entirety,” said Musarara.
“In as much as we appreciate, recognise and respect the litigants’ constitutional rights to vindicate their position in the courts of law, we believe that the so called ‘limitations’ in the Statutory Instrument can be cured through engagement with the Minister.
“The milling Industry has in the past 3 years, and working with the government, procured local and imported grain in excess of US$500 million.
“GMAZ has got excellent working relationship with the Government and indeed with Minister Shiri. He is a listening minister and we are forever indebted to him for the various and numerous dispensation he has granted us.
“We continue to work with government in coming up with the necessary and effective interventions critical to mitigate on the grain shortages occasioned by the drought and ensure the country is adequately stocked and resourced.
“With respect to the ongoing litigation, we remain adamant that dialogue and only dialogue can bring about the necessary legal framework that will regulate grain trading in the country.”
This comes after parliamentarians last week also voiced disapproval over the Statutory Instrument.