Zanu PF In bid to politicize food aid under the guise of supervising the distribution process”
16 April 2024
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By A Correspondent| Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party has announced its intention to oversee the distribution of vital food aid, purportedly to assist citizens suffering from the harsh impacts of the El Niño-induced drought. This revelation, disclosed by the party’s national spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa at their headquarters in Harare, has sparked criticism from observers.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently declared the drought a national disaster due to reduced rainfall leading to food shortages across many regions, leaving countless families in dire need of assistance.

According to the World Food Programme’s hunger map for 2023/24, published earlier this year, approximately 4.1 million Zimbabweans are facing food insecurity, a figure anticipated to increase.

In a press conference, Mutsvangwa emphasized the party’s resolve to oversee food distribution by both the government and aid agencies to ensure that no citizen goes hungry. He cited Zanu-PF’s historical mobilizing strength and pledged to utilize it against the current crisis.

Insiders disclosed that recent party meetings focused extensively on strategies to maintain control over rural populations, with food distribution being a pivotal issue.

Zanu-PF’s history of leveraging food handouts for political influence in remote areas has raised concerns about their intentions. The party perceives NGOs and aid agencies as potential influencers of voting patterns in their strongholds, prompting recent warnings from government officials against perceived misconduct during food distribution.

These warnings coincide with increased government scrutiny over NGOs, raising fears of stifling independent humanitarian efforts. Zanu-PF figures have accused some NGOs of exploiting crises for political ends, portraying them as agents of foreign interests.

However, critics argue that such measures are aimed at suppressing dissent and maintaining political dominance, rather than genuinely addressing the needs of the population. Analysts warn that politicizing food aid and targeting NGOs could exacerbate the already dire situation faced by millions of Zimbabweans in need of assistance.