Zanu PF hijacks subsidised mealie-meal facility

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF has been accused of hijacking a government subsided mealie-meal facility and distributing the staple at selected shops and supermarkets in Bulawayo.

Millers are buying grain from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) at a government subsidised price of $242 per tonne.

As such, milling beneficiaries of the facility are in turn required to sell the staple at subsidised prices to consumers.

Some residents who spoke to in Bulawayo accused Zanu PF of politicising the facility.

“Zanu PF ward officers were screening people who wanted to buy mealie-meal at People’s Market shop in Tshabalala,” said Nickson Ndlovu, a city resident.

“One of the officials (name supplied) was asking people who were in the queue to produce Zanu PF cards before they could be allowed to buy the mealie-meal.

“What they are doing is very unfair because the mealie-meal is subsidised through the taxpayer’s money.”

The residents claimed that business people with links to the ruling party were the only ones who enjoyed supplies of subsidised mealie-meal. They accused Zanu PF officials of identifying shops which sell the cheap mealie-meal.

“What is happening is that Zanu PF ward and district officials identify shops which are run by Zanu PF people.

“The list of those shops are then sent to the Minister of State for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Judith Ncube for approval,” said another resident.

Early this year, angry residents forced the abandonment of maize distribution at Tshabalala hall in protest after some known Zanu PF officials had taken over the government urban aid distribution programme.

When reached for comment, Minister Ncube said it was not government‘s policy to politicise subsidised mealie meal.

“What these people are doing is against the President. That should stop. I am going to make sure that this practice is stopped,” said Ncube.

Political discrimination in the distribution of food and related items is a common accusation levelled against Zanu PF which often dismisses the claims.

Last week, some Chiredzi residents declared they will not comply with government’s 21-day COVID-19 lockdown after Zanu PF took over the sale of mealie-meal in the sugar-cane producing town.