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What are you doing about starving Zimbabweans? – MPs challenge minister over food aid

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By Anna Chibamu


MEMBERS of Parliament (MPs) are gravely concerned about food insecurity among households across Zimbabwe, amid reports some were already facing acute hunger.

The legislators recently besieged Public Service Deputy Minister, Lovemore Matuke demanding food aid distribution data.

The MPs wanted to know what the government was doing to alleviate hunger in rural areas considering that masses in their constituencies were starving.

Masvingo South MP, Claudius Maronge (Zanu PF) raised concerns over government delays in distributing food to some areas countrywide.

“Government has already started distributing the maize to different areas, but many areas had not been covered because the process of compiling registers of those in need of food (database) was yet to be completed.”

“Currently, we are compiling that database so that we will not leave anyone who is in need left out.

“So far Manicaland has received 2,500 metric tonnes while Mashonaland Central has received 1,400 tonnes so far,” Matuke said.

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Matuke also highlighted that the government does not just give out food because there is a database for handouts.

“A needy person is the one who has not been able to harvest in the last farming season firstly, we check to see whether he or she managed to harvest anything.

‘Some had food for one month, some three months and some did not harvest anything. Some failed to harvest, but they have livestock, maybe 50 cattle or 200 goats.

“We look at a number of issues because one can sell a cow and buy a tonne of grain. However, there are people who do not have livestock and do not have children who are working…

“As we compile a database, we do not consider religion, politics and there is no nepotism. If there are such circumstances that are happening, you can come to our offices. Everyone who needs food assistance has the right to get relief food under President Mnangagwa’s government.’

The deputy minister also dismissed the allegations food was being distributed on political and religious bases as alleged by opposition MPs.

“Do you make follow-ups to find out whether social welfare officers are writing to the people who are really needy? In the rural areas, they are compiling their lists on political grounds where they write people belonging to the ruling party.”

Said the deputy minister; “Government policy is not to avail food based on religion or politics. If there are such issues that are happening, we request that the information be brought to our offices so that we address them,” said the official.”