Felex Share in Bindura—
President Robert Mugabe has said there will be no discrimination in the distribution of food imported by the government to feed people and those caught influencing food distribution on partisan lines would be dealt with in terms of the law. He assured the nation that no one would die of hunger.Speaking as he officially opened the Zimbabwe Ezekiel Gutu University in Bindura yesterday, President Mugabe said the El Nino-induced drought was affecting every Zimbabwean and no one should be segregated on food aid.
“We got the same feeling, needs and demands and so even as we struggle against each other politically, the hunger that we feel within our own party is the same hunger being felt in the MDC,” President Mugabe said.
“We’re Zimbabweans whether we’re working in mines, farms or companies. We can never rub off the fact of our being Zimbabwean, the fact of being human beings. That’s what Christianity teaches us. “Whether we find ourselves in the party or any association, we’re all the same, bound together as one family of Zimbabweans.”
He added: “As food is being distributed, it’s being distributed to people as a whole to save them. We might differ on policies but when we talk of food, all of us should be served. It doesn’t matter which church or party one belongs to.”
The government was distributing grain to all the provinces but reports were that some officials were distributing the food on partisan basis.
About four million people are in need of food aid and government has about 91,000 tonnes, enough to cover the next three months. The government is also working on plans to import more grain and has also given licences to other private players to assist.
President Mugabe also emphasised the issue of food distribution while addressing thousands of Zanu-PF supporters who had gathered at Chipadze Stadium for a rally. “The food is there and what’s slowing distribution is the challenge we’re facing in transportation,” he said.
“People tend to compete for what would have come, but I’m glad we haven’t heard of any deaths and we don’t want anyone to die. I’ve been told that food distribution is being done properly, nicely and there are places that need more and we’ll ensure that’s done.
“If you’ve surplus and know that there are other areas that need food, please assist each other and government will be in the process of bringing more.” To alleviate the transport problems, the District Development Fund has adopted a ‘hit and run” concept and has 10 trucks going around the country moving food from Grain Marketing Board depots to the people.
The government has also re-introduced its public works programmes, popularly known as food-for-work to ensure those who are not labour constrained work for the grain.
President Mugabe said government officials would move around the country assessing how people are using the agricultural equipment secured from Brazil.
The equipment, President Mugabe said, was the panacea to the drought challenges being experienced as people can use it to irrigate their crops throughout the year.
Zimbabwe has a lot of water bodies that are not being utilised.