By Tererai Karimakwenda
26 April 2012
Reports that officials from ZANU PF and the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) are looting grain from a government scheme and only distributing it to their supporters have intensified and the MDC-T is advising villagers to report them to the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC).
The coalition government established a grain loan scheme that was intended to help villagers facing starvation in the rural areas, regardless of what political party they support. But the MDC-T says supplies are being diverted to ZANU PF supporters, with some ending up on sale on the black market.
The MDC-T provincial spokesman, Pishai Muchauraya, told SW Radio Africa that villagers should report to their local JOMIC officials because they have lost faith in the police, who respond to politically motivated cases in favour of ZANU PF.
“We have lost confidence in them from the lowest man to (Police Chief) Augustine Chihuri and up to (co-Home Affairs Minister) Kembo Mohadi,” Muchauraya explained.
He added that the partisan distribution of food is politically motivated and JOMIC was established to monitor political progress under the coalition government, so they should deal with corrupt officials who divert food.
JOMIC has been criticized for doing little to stop political violence around the country, and some observers have said reporting corruption to them would make no difference. But Muchauraya explained that the reports would be a way to document acts of corrupt officials and can be used as evidence in the future.
“We have also started compiling records and evidence of what is happening at the distribution centers here in Manicaland. I think by the end of day Friday we will have submitted the list to JOMIC at their provincial offices in Manicaland,” Muchauraya said.
Looting of grain stocks has become critical in Manicaland where Muchauraya said several ZANU PF officials connived with a GMB official and created two “ghost villages” in Mutare Ward 29.
The party said former ZANU PF councillor Jealous Makaza and party supporters Eric Batsirai Betera and Josphat Kusena were in charge of grain distribution in the ward. The trio allegedly looted the maize with the help of an unidentified GMB official.
“Villagers were this week shocked when names of non-existent people, purported to be from villages Chikara B and Kusena B, were called to collect their allocation,” the MDC-T statement said.
Partisan distribution of the government’s grain loan scheme has also been reported by villagers in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces, according to the Daily News newspaper.
The report said: “The GMB has been hit by serious corruption allegations of late, with company officials being arrested or fired at some of its branches.”
The Mugabe regime has used food as a political weapon for many years, especially during periods leading to elections. The MDC-T wants the mandate of distributing grain to be given to councillors at the ward level, since they represent the people at a local level.