The MDC is gravely concerned by the casual and rather lackadaisical attitude of the Zanu PF government in handling the impending severe food shortage. Even though it is now abundantly clear that the country will need to import maize to feed about three (3) million people, there are no concrete plans that have been activated to ensure that our grain silos are timeously re-stocked. We note, with trepidation, that GMB grain silos at all major depots such as Lionâ€™s Den, Chinhoyi, Aspindale and Banket are still empty and in a serious state of disrepair.
A few days ago, the State-controlled media reported that the government has arranged a US$200 million credit facility with a certain foreign import-export bank but the reality on the ground is that people are already starving; particularly in the southern provinces of Masvingo, Matebelend South and Matebeleland North. As the MDC, we would like to call upon President Robert Mugabe not to waste any more time before his government declares a state of emergency. It doesnâ€™t make good planning sense for the government to wait until people start starving before it treats the impeding drought with the seriousness that it obviously deserves.
The Zanu PF regime should also take prompt measures to rectify the far-reaching deficiencies in its much-talked about land reform program. Put simply, all those people who are not productively utilising the land that was allocated to them should have that land taken away from them and re-distributed to Zimbabweans who will be able to use the land more effectively and productively. Because of the ravages brought about by climate change, our farmers should deliberately move away from rain-fed agriculture and focus more on irrigation technology. There are more than 11 000 dams in Zimbabwe and thus, we shouldnâ€™t have any excuse for failing to grow enough food crops to feed our rather small population of only 13 million people.
The effects of global warming cannot be wished away. Already, weather experts have predicted that the entire southern African region is going to experience below normal rainfall for the next three or four farming seasons. It is, therefore, incumbent upon the Zanu PF government to channel more resources to enhance the countryâ€™s irrigation facilities. Zimbabwe is not at war with any country and neither are we facing any serious security threat. Reports that both the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) as well as the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) are planning to recruit more than 30 000 new recruits each are therefore quite depressing and unfortunate. Instead of wasting our limited financial and material resources on building up a massive security system, the Zanu PF government should, instead, focus more on feeding the millions of starving people and also resuscitating the ailing economy. The government should prioritise the importation of grain rather than utilising our limited financial resources in purchasing expensive motor vehicles for government ministers and other regime bureaucrats.
President Robert Mugabe should also try to spend more time in the country attending to pressing national issues rather than travelling from one foreign destination to another. Zimbabwe needs a hands-on administration that is prepared to bite the bullet and take immediate corrective action to avert any further bleeding of the comatose economy. Amongst other actions, the government should ruthlessly clamp down on corruption in both the public and private sectors. The Masvingo birthday jamboree that has been planned for the soon to be 92 years old ruler, Robert Mugabe, should be cancelled. The US$800 000 that has been budgeted for this useless and expensive birthday celebration should be channelled towards the urgent importation of maize. It is high time that the extravagant Zanu PF regime takes a few lessons from President John Magufuli of Tanzania. President Magufuli is only 56 years old but there is absolutely no doubt that the 92 year old President Mugabe has got a lot to learn from the Magufulis of this world.
It is actually humiliating to note that only less than two decades ago, Zimbabwe used to be the breadbasket of Southern Africa; capable of feeding no less than 250 million people. Thanks to the Zanu PF â€“induced violent and chaotic land reform program, Zimbabwe is now effectively a basket case; struggling to feed a small population of 13 million people. What a shame! What a fall from grace!
MDC : EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL
OBERT CHAURURA GUTU
MDC NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON
Post published in: Agriculture