ZANU PF manipulating the poor

ZANU PF manipulating the poor
Published: 17 July 2015 (560 Views)

Structures within the ruling ZANU PF are reportedly taking advantage of the bad harvest in most parts of Matabeleland South to manipulate villagers to finance the party's activities in the province.

Information made available to media by villagers from the drought stricken areas of Gwanda South and Beitbridge West indicates that the ruling party's councillors and cell leaders are demanding poor villagers to pay a dollar each to receive a bag of maize grain. The villagers who spoke to media on condition of anonymity said that known ZANU PF persons are going on a door to door programme forcing villagers to pay a dollar each towards what they say is money directed at providing the villagers with drought relief grain.

The villagers claim to have started paying the dollar each per month since the beginning of the year when it was evident that they were facing a poor harvest and to date no grain has yet been delivered to them. The officials collecting the money are said to be moving around in ZANU PF t-shirts and recording the collections in books stamped by the local councillors with an official stamp.

The villagers further claim that they were also force to pay for ZANU PF membership cards which they were told will be a prerequisite for one to be provided with grain when it is eventually delivered. To make matters worse the villagers claim that above the dollar paid for grain, they are required to make sure that their ZANU PF membership card subscriptions of a dollar per month are kept up to date.

The officials are said to be keeping a register of every villager in their cells and monthly meetings are called where the register of attendance is checked and anyone absent is threatened with being denied the grain when it is eventually delivered. Villagers claim that they are forced to confess loyalty and allegiance to the party up to the next election.

"Things were better in the days of JOMIC," said one villager. "We would report such to JOMIC and were protected but now we are being abused and told openly that the days of JOMIC and MDC are over ZANU PF is in charge and we must listen or die of hunger," he added.

Follow up on where the funds collected are sent revealed that the officials collecting the money give the money to the councillors and officials claiming to be belonging to the disbanded district committees who then send the money to the provincial office. Councillors are said to be claiming that the dollar per person they collect is for transport to ferry the grain from GMB deports to the villages.

It could not immediately be ascertained how much is collected on a monthly basis from the poor villagers and how much the transport providers charge to ferry the grain. The drought relief grain scheme is a government programme which is normally fully funded by the World Food Programme and other non governmental organisations of which grain transportation is expected to be part of the funds provided.

Speaking in parliament recently, Agriculture Minister, Joseph Made said that government has not yet started the drought relief grain scheme as need assessments are still being carried out. According to the Minister the exercise may only resume towards the end of the year yet villagers are already paying for the grain delivery.

Meanwhile, ZANU PF urban councillors are also reportedly collecting the same dollar per person on the promise of rice to be delivered to the elderly people in the communities. Minister Made confirmed to parliament that the rice distribution exercise was not a government programme but a party programme. The Ministry insisted that government only distributes maize grain as supplementary feed not rice and Members of Parliament and their parties are free to selectively give their members any extra food hand out at their discretion.

- Byo24News

Tags: ZANUPF,
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