Partisan food distribution cases soar

THE Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) has expressed concern over the spike in cases of partisan distribution of government and donor-sourced food aid by suspected Zanu PF officials.

BY STEPHEN CHADENGA

ZHRC chief human rights officer responsible for complaints handling and investigations, Kurai Makumbe, said this yesterday at the commission’s Midlands stakeholders engagement meeting in Gweru.

Although she did not cite specific areas where the practice is rife, Makumbe said the commission had received numerous cases, where one’s political affiliation determined whether they would receive food aid.

“As a commission, we have received many cases of partisan food distribution based on one’s political affiliation,” she said.

“Such cases usually increase during election time when food is used to gain votes from the electorate.”

Last year, Norton legislator, Temba Mliswa (independent) told Parliament that during his tenure as the ruling party’s provincial chairman, he received orders that government-sourced food aid was only meant to benefit ruling party supporters.

In 2016, the World Food Programme also claimed to have received more than 1 000 complaints relating to the partisan distribution of food aid across the country.

Last year, the Zimbabwe Peace Project reported that politicisation of food aid had escalated.