By Robert Tapfumaneyi
GOVERNMENT’S input scheme, Pfumvudza has brought its own package of rights violations in the country’s provinces with the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) claiming the process was being managed along partisan lines.
ZPP is a local NGO which documents politically motivated rights violations and similarly, lobbies for justice.
In its November report on rights abuses in the country, the group accused the State and Zanu PF of violating the national constitution through openly partisan distribution of the government sourced inputs.
Topping the list of human rights violations in November is Masvingo province with 43 cases, followed by Mashonaland West (36) and Mashonaland Central at 34.
“There was a continuation of partisan distribution of agricultural inputs under the government’s Pfumvudza input scheme, biased hand-out of food aid from the government’s social welfare department as well as the open bias in court processes and the escalation of the stifling of alternative voices, in politics, media and civil society and other spaces,” ZPP said.
“Masvingo, Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West provinces had the highest number of recorded cases of human rights violations attributed to the partisan distribution of inputs under the government’s Pfumvudza scheme.
“Across the country, as recorded by ZPP, villagers, for the second month in a row, spoke of a deliberate and systematic process of sidelining perceived or real supporters of opposition political parties from benefitting from a government scheme that is supposed to benefit everyone regardless of their political affiliation.”
ZPP went on to say the conflation of the ruling party and the State compounded by impunity, which has been in existence since the Robert Mugabe era, has continued to hound President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s tenure, with ruling party officials and activists hijacking government programmes without facing any consequence.
Said ZPP, “For example, in Marondera West, about 80 villagers who had gathered at Manyaira Shopping Centre in Ward 10 to receive Pfumvudza inputs in the presence of a Grain Marketing Board Officer, and the District Development Coordinator, were shocked when a Zanu PF Ward Councillor, Nelson Mukwenha, took over the process and denied those suspected to support the opposition.
“The incidents were not limited to Pfumvudza inputs as in Hurungwe, at Mashuma Chirasasa village, a Zanu PF Ward Secretary, Livingstone Nzombe diverted the social welfare maize grain and sorghum meant for the elderly and persons with disabilities and distributed it to undeserving people.”
Villagers who were brave enough to confront Nzombe reportedly received threats and a vegetable garden belonging to one of the disgruntled villagers was destroyed in unclear circumstances.
“To show how widespread and systematic this discrimination is, it follows the same pattern across the country and the perpetrators are found at all levels of leadership in the ruling party and government,” the report said.
“For example, on 1 November, in Gutu North, at Zvavahera Business Centre, Zanu PF legislator Yeukai Simbanegavi allegedly asked those gathered to receive the Pfumvudza farming pack to produce their Zanu PF regalia as a condition to get the aid.”
However, in past interviews with the media, Zanu PF officials have denied claims of partisanship.