Chinamasa protests over food aid

chinamasaHARARE Zanu (PF)s chief negotiator Patrick Chinamasa (pictured) in the ongoing power-sharing talks has protested to the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) over what he said was politicization of food aid by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirais MDC-T party, The Zimbabwean On Sunday heard l

MDC-T sources said Chinamasa, who is also Zimbabwes justice minister, last month wrote to JOMIC to complain about alleged politicisation of non-governmental organisation (NGO) food distribution programmes in Manicaland province by Tsvangirais party. But after investigating the alleged politicisation, JOMIC discovered that there was no substance to Chinamasas claims other than pure paranoia on the part of Zanu (PF). What they called politicisation of the NGO food assistance programme was in fact the presence of MDC

newsletters at the distribution points in one of the areas, an MDC official told The Zimbabwean On Sunday.

JOMIC is special multi-party taskforce mandated with supervising the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed by Zanu (PF) and the two MDC formations last year.

It handles all complaints, grievances, concerns and issues relating to compliance with the GPA. Chinamasas protest came as President Robert Mugabe also protested about the alleged politicisation of assistance to World Food Programme executive director Josette Sheeran on the sidelines of the World Food summit held in Italy last month.

The WFP is the lead United Nations agency that coordinates the distribution of food to hungry people in Zimbabwe. It however works through a network of non-governmental organisations that operate at district level. Zanu (PF) is understood to be pushing for all WFP handouts to be channelled through government structures to enable it to have control over the distribution process.

Human rights groups have accused Zanu (PF) of using food aid as a political weapon with which it punishes known MDC supporters. The Zimbabwe Peace Project last month accused Mugabes party of falsifying records to deny known opponents assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and NGOs. The group said public access to food and humanitarian assistance was being denied through well-coordinated webs of partisan structures such as ward coordinators, volunteers, village heads, councillors and chairpersons linked to Zanu (PF).

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