Army, Zanu bid to loot fertilizer foiled

zanu_war_vetsMARONDERA - A desperate attempt by President Robert Mugabes cronies to loot subsidised fertilizer at the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), through the discredited Maguta scheme, hit a brick wall last week. (Pictured: Zanu PF war veterans)

War veterans and Zanu (PF) officials, reportedly held a meeting with GMB officials here, in an attempt to force the company to surrender fertilizer to Maguta for partisan distribution. “A group of people from the defunct Maguta farming scheme, met GMB management and tried to have the fertilizer surrendered to them for distribution. In the past, farm inputs distributed through the scheme have benefited mainly top government and party officials. But as the fertilizer was purchased through a scheme sponsored by a local commercial bank, there was no way GMB could hand over the inputs to these sharks,” said a top GMB official who attended the meeting.

The bank had demanded a refund of cash channelled into the scheme if party officials hijacked the exercise meant to benefit farmers across the political divide. A 50kg pocket of fertilizer was marked at $7. The fertilizer was finally sold to the public last Friday. A2 farmers bought the fertilizer according to quantities of grain delivered to the GMB during the past four years. Farmers in the A1 category purchased the inputs through their Agriculture Extension Officers and Headmen. Though an official at the GMB indicated the fertilizer was sold in a non-partisan manner, Zanu (PF) trucks were the first to leave the deport laden with the agriculture in puts.

Farmers who benefited from the scheme, expressed satisfaction at the selling price, but showed concern at the erratic rainfall pattern this season. “Provision of subsidised fertilizer is a welcome development, but if the rainfall remains unpredictable, we may stock the ammonium nitrate for the next farming season. Some crop has already wilted beyond resuscitation,” said Neria Musonza, an A1 farmer in Marondera. Armed police details controlled distribution of the fertilizer at the GMB, as it was feared riotous Zanu (PF) elements were feared could cause havoc.

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