Farm inputs, food aid politicised

HARARE - Supporters of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirais MDC party at Mahusekwa in Mashonaland East province say pro-Zanu (PF) government officials are refusing them state supplied food and farm inputs as punishment for backing the former opposition party.

According to Shadreck Chipangura, a senior MDC-T member here, he and other people suspected of supporting Tsvangirais party were last Sunday denied fertilizer and told to go get inputs from their party. Chipangura said: People in my village at Mudakurwa have been denied food on political lines. Zanu (PF) youths took down names of all people suspected of supporting the MDC, when these people went to receive fertilizer they were turned away and told to go and get the fertilizer from the MDC. He said MDC supporters have been able to receive only support coming from non-governmental organisations that do not consider recipients political affiliation when distribution aid.

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made as well as Zanu (PF) spokesman Rugare Gumbo could not be reached for comment on the matter. However the chairman of the parliamentary portfolio committee on agriculture Moses Jiri said the committee was aware of reports of politicisation of farm inputs. He said: We are aware of the partisan distribution of agricultural inputs. But Zanu (PF) has been very clever as it has been able conceal this. They claim that food is meant for the vulnerable but when you look at the beneficiaries there are all from Zanu (PF).

Zanu (PF), which still controls much of the state bureaucracy that runs agricultural support programmes, has been regularly accused by human rights groups of politicising state food and agricultural inputs support. But Mugabes party has in the past denied abusing food or agricultural support and said reports by rights groups accusing it of denying such aid to opponents were fabrications meant to tarnish its image.

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