Mavaza: Mutsvangwa Never Said Food Aid Is Only for ZANU PF
20 April 2024
Spread the love


One of the most despicable tactics our rulers will use in war and imperialist manoeuvres is to deny basic food supplies to their enemies. There has been an outcry against Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa’s press conference where he was accused of allegedly stating that ZANU PF members will not starve. Mutsvangwa, Zanu PF Secretary for Information and Publicity, has said the ruling party will superintend the distribution of food aid in Zimbabwe. Mutsvangwa was speaking at a press conference at the party headquarters, on Monday, 15 April 2024. This comes after the President of Zimbabwe, Cde Dr Emmerson Mnangagwa, declared a national disaster with Zimbabwe becoming the third Southern African country to make the declaration, joining Zambia and Malawi. In Zimbabwe, over 2.7 million people need food aid and the country has a grain deficit of 680,000 metric tonnes.

It goes without saying that Zimbabwe is blessed with plenty of rumour mongers masquerading as opposition politicians who twist every word said. It is not a secret that Mutsvangwa is a ZANU PF spokesperson and thus he speaks for ZANU PF. He did not claim for a second that he was speaking on behalf of the government but for ZANU PF.

It is a fact that food has become one of the most important political questions addressed by many political parties worldwide. The lack of access to sufficient quantities of food to satisfy minimum human needs, referred to as food poverty, the quality of the food we consume and its impact on our health, referred to as food safety, and the control of the world’s food resources, known as food security, have all been the focus of attention for many within the growing political platforms. The UN General Assembly stated in 2000 its ‘collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality, and equity at the global level’ and established a series of ‘millennium goals’ to be achieved. These included, in the goal of the eradication of extreme hunger, a target of reducing by half the numbers of malnourished people in the world. Yet the UN itself admits that more than 40 countries are not on track to achieve this goal. The extent of food deprivation and threat of famine caused by the debilitating drought can be gauged by the fact that overall 80 percent of the Zimbabwean population will need food aid. A further measure of extreme starvation will come from the number of people living in rural areas. Even among those in the urban areas with supposedly ‘adequate’ levels of nutrition, the food shortage will indeed visit them. Poor diet, alcohol consumption, and sedentary lifestyles will contribute to many deaths if food is not distributed.

Bearing in mind the shortages looming, Cde Mutsvangwa said, “We have said the system of governance is being tweaked, we also are going to use our party (to distribute food aid). The whole political structure of the party is being told that’s why we had a central committee meeting yesterday (Sunday) to go and be on the lookout so that we superintend these systems by providing information to the central government about any areas where there may be deficits or where there may be discrepancies from our governance system. The government bureaucracy beware that the party will be superintending people at village level to make sure that people don’t starve.” Mutsvangwa added that Zanu PF will ensure everyone receives food aid regardless of political affiliation as “Zanu PF is a party that loves everyone in Zimbabwe”.

In previous years, Zanu PF has been accused of hijacking food aid distribution in rural areas, sidelining opposition members and supporters. It is surprising that opposition activists and opposition lawyers were on the overdrive accusing ZANU PF of planning to feed ZANU PF members only. “It’s not Zanu PF that will be giving food, no, I told you the people that will be giving food is the government, people who work as extension officers coming from the ministry of agriculture, people of health and those of social welfare. The government is different from Zanu PF on our side is to check if members of Zanu PF are all fed as a party that loves its people.” This the phrase which has been highly misinterpreted by the opposition. Unfortunately, the West only hears what they want to hear.

Being that as it may, Cde Mutsvangwa had no duty to assure opposition members of priority in receiving food. Mutsvangwa represents ZANU PF and he had to oversee the welfare of the members of his party. In fact, Cde Mutsvangwa was very clear when he said “So on the issue of food there are no outcasts, there are no enemies of politics, we are one people”, he said. The government is going to be distributing 7 kilograms of food aid per individual. Added Mutsvangwa, “We previously focused on household; this time we have gone further down on the ladder we are focusing on individuals. Calculations have been done. We need about 7 kilograms of food per month per individual to survive. We will make sure that is available, and as months come later a bigger requirement will raise that level of food production and this will be at the individual level not the household level. We want to make sure that no one in the village, nobody in the ward goes hungry”. The Government will also chip in irrigation crops to help as winter approaches.”

Cde Mutsvangwa was fully aware that we live in a world in which, as with the oil or armaments industries, a few firms dominate the world’s food market. So Cde Mutsvangwa also provided the ideological explanation of what is now happening to our food. The fact that ZANU PF will oversee the distribution of the food does not mean ZANU PF was monopolising food distribution. The allegations against Mutsvangwa are mischievous, vague and totally untrue. International food policy has been dominated by three interrelated needs: the protection of big business interests and markets in the developed world; the securing of access to raw, unprocessed food products from developing countries; and the securing of access into developing countries’ markets for processed exports from the developed world. By thrusting ZANU PF in the things Mutsvangwa seeks to achieve clarity and transparency by one look at the structure of the food industry explains why this is so. For well over 30 years the world food industry has been dominated by the needs of multinational firms, especially those of the US and Britain.

ZANU PF understands the needs of its people and thus Cde Mutsvangwa mentions that ZANU PF will oversee the distribution. Zimbabwean authorities do not discriminate against perceived political opponents by denying them access to food programs, International relief agencies in Zimbabwe had always ensured that access to food is based on need alone and is not biased by domestic or international political concerns. The report of widespread politicization of the government’s subsidized grain program, managed by the Grain Marketing Board, as well as the far less extensive manipulation of international food aid is a figment of the opposition’s imagination. Food distribution has not started yet so how then could anybody possibly believe that there is bias before the distribution started. The government authorities and party officials of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) had never and do not manipulate the supply and distribution of government-subsidized grain and the registration of recipients for international food aid. International aid agencies had always devoted greater resources and attention to preventing the manipulation of recipient lists.

Apologies for the cutoff! Here’s the completion of the paragraph:


There is no international community’s tacit complicity in preventing food from reaching opposition members. For the avoidance of doubt, there are no villages designated for opposition members. Zimbabweans live in harmony. There are no select groups of people being denied access to food. The international community will spend hundreds of millions of dollars pouring food aid into Zimbabwe, to complement government efforts to fight hunger this year. Any perceived political adversaries of ZANU-PF or the government will not be discriminated against. Known members of the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and CCC are no longer perceived as enemies since their leaders have jumped the boat. The qualification for one to get food aid in Zimbabwe is to be hungry. Often international relief agencies need to rely on local authorities in some cases to determine beneficiary status, which leads to organized parties to come in and help. The last time we checked, Zimbabwe had only one truly organized party which is ZANU PF. The Zimbabwe government has an obligation under international and domestic law to supply food without reference to race, religion, ethnicity or regional origin, or to residence, sex, or political affiliation. The government will instruct authorities in charge of beneficiary lists to abide by the laws. There is no reason for Zimbabwe to even think of politicizing food now. Elections will only be in 2028. It is a shame that we have people who continue to demonize their country. ZANU PF will feed every Zimbabwean and will naturally make sure its members are well fed then others will not die of hunger.