By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
04 April 2014
Government has barred former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai from visiting victims of the Tokwe Mukosi floods, the MDC-T has said.
The MDC-T leader was due to visit the Chingwizi holding camp this week where he wanted to donate used clothes, blankets and food stuffs to the victims. But the government notified the former premier’s emissaries that he could not go ahead with his mission.
According to a statement from Harvest House, Provincial Affairs Minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti said Tsvangirai must leave his presents at the government offices in Masvingo where they will be transported to the victims. But the MDC-T said ZANU PF is so used to partisan food distribution that they may want to misrepresent all donations as coming from them. The party said it was criminal for ZANU PF to ‘take advantage of a national disaster for political capital.’
Spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said the opposition party was shocked that the government would bar a former premier, and leader of a party represented in Parliament, from undertaking such a humanitarian exercise.
Mwonzora said Tsvangirai was simply being ‘courteous’ by informing the government of his plans because there is no legal requirement for him to do so. He said: ‘He is a former PM and as such certain formalities are important to be fullfilled otherwise he is not bound by any law to inform anyone of such a mission.’
Mwonzora said the party will continue to negotiate with the government. He said Tsvangirai had delayed his visit as a way to ‘give the government a chance to deal with the flood situation on its own without tainting the situation with politics.’
About 4,000 people were evacuated from the flood risk area after heavy rains threatened the collapse of the Tokwe Mukosi Dam in the Masvingo area. Reports have said the flood victims are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance and the government is clearly failing to cope with the situation.
International aid agencies have been working in the area to try to help alleviate the crisis.