Opposition members denied food aid

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HARARE – Villagers supporting opposition parties are being excluded from food aid distribution, the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) has revealed.

In its April report, ZPP said the elderly and some vulnerable members of communities were going without food aid because of partisan distribution of relief aid.

At least five million people, mostly in rural communities where the effects of the El Nino-induced drought are most severe, are in need of food aid.

But instead of distributing the food impartially, ZPP claims that traditional leaders and councillors are favouring Zanu PF supporters at the expense of vulnerable groups.

“According to food distribution guidelines the management and distribution of food and other relief is supposed to be based purely on criteria of need and not on partisan grounds, and without adverse distinction of any kind like the requirement to contribute to independence celebrations,” ZPP said.

Recently, the United Nations resident coordinator Bishow Parajuli said plans are afoot to reach out to as many people as possible regardless of their political affiliation.

He said of the required $360 million in the drought response plan, it will also be extended to other vulnerable groups in urban areas and to migrants as well.

Bishow, however, said with the $70 million that has been received so far, there was need to continue and increase drought response in Zimbabwe.

“We project that the people in need will increase, food insecurity in the rural population will fluctuate from 30 percent to 49 percent, that is approximately 4,5 million people during the peak of the lean season from January to March 2017,” he said.

USaid mission director Stephanie Funk said with the help of the World Food Program (WFP), they have a robust exercise that enables them to identify the most vulnerable members in the communities regardless of political affiliation.

“People who are sick, those with young children and those in abject poverty are identified. If there is any instance of food going in the wrong direction or people that are in need not receiving it then they should report to the help desk so that we respond to such complaints,” Funk said.

According to WFP country director Eddie Rowe, Zimbabwe’s food security situation looks bleak as villagers failed to harvest anything meaningful this season.

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