The Presidential Input Scheme should not divide Communities

The Government of Zimbabwe has since Independence embarked on various socio-economic programmes meant to boost livelihoods of the ordinary Zimbabwean. Given the fact that the country is landlocked, agriculture has been the major backbone of the economy hence food security schemes being implemented by the Government.

Previous Food distribution exercises
Previous Food distribution exercises

Of great concern to Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT), is the Presidential Well-Wishers’ Special Agricultural Inputs Scheme (PWSAIS) meant to benefit disadvantaged farmers which is being abused by greedy selfish politicians. An estimated US$20 million farming package for the 2012-2013 agricultural season was unveiled by President Mugabe to benefit the poor regardless of political affiliation.

The package was supposed to benefit over 800 000 households countrywide but the manner in which it is being distributed has seen only ZANU PF sympathizers benefitting. This is the third time that President Mugabe has sourced farming inputs for disadvantaged farmers but over the years the distribution has remained skewed with the inputs not reaching its intended beneficiaries.

HZT has been receiving reports countrywide of unfair distribution of the inputs at the local level and the irregularities are rife in Mashonaland Central, Midlands, Masvingo and Manicaland.

It should be noted that the moment a certain group of people is denied access to the inputs, it creates yet another vicious cycle of dependent and vulnerable households and also exacerbates tensions and conflicts in local communities. Cases of unfair distribution have been reported in the following areas:

Muzarabani South

Ward 17

Chief Kasekete held a public meeting on 7 November 2013 where he sternly warned all Village Heads under his jurisdiction against giving inputs to people who are anti ZANU PF supporters. He instructed them that known MDC supporters and all those who refused to be assisted to vote in the past election should not be included on the PWSAIS list .He further warned that any village head who would submit a list with MDC supporters would be stripped off their positions. This resulted in 8 families from Bumhira village and 7 families from Charunda village being denied access to the PWSAIS by Councilor Proud Pfotso and the ZANU PF ward chairperson Fighton Mupinga who were presiding over the distributions.

Gokwe Nembudziya

Ward 13

Two ZANU PF ward Councilors Mr. Mapishu and Genius Madende told village heads Chiwashira and Zimbeva on 9 November 2013 to carefully select beneficiaries of the PWSAIS according to their political party affiliation. This was a move to screen all well known MDC supporters so that they do not benefit from the programme. The councilors claim that the scheme is a reward to ZANU-PF supporters for voting the President into power on the 31st of July elections.

Gokwe Nembudziya

Ward 23

The ZANU-PF ward chairperson identified as Mandava who is presiding over the input distribution process is sidelining all suspected opposition supporters.

Murehwa North

Ward 2

In Chief Mangwande's area, seeds and fertilisers are being distributed on partisan basis. Headman Kurida addressed villagers on 3 November and explained to them that the inputs are only meant for ZANU PF supporters as a token of appreciation for voting "wisely" during the 31 July elections.

Mudzi South

A ZANU-PF Member of Parliament (MP) for Mudzi North, Newton Kachepa, forcefully took over the input distribution process in Mudzi South. He stated that the Mudzi South MP, Jonathan Samkange, is an independent legislature who cannot distribute goods meant for ZANU-PF supporters only. All known opposition supporters who had gathered for the distribution exercise were chased away.

Mazowe Central

Gweshe-Ward 12

In Mapfumo, Mudimu, Hobodo and Chitiyo villages, the village heads compiled a list of ZANU-PF sympathizers only to benefit from the farming input scheme. The lists was handed to the ZANU PF ward councilor Knight Muzhira who is responsible for distributing the inputs. MDC- T supporters were informed that they will only benefit from the scheme if there are surpluses since the distribution programme is meant for those who voted for the ZANU-PF in the July 31 elections.

Mazowe Central- Nzvimbo

Ward 8,9,10 and 12

Councilors, Elisha Mukahiwa, Muzhira and John Mudzonga who are all from ZANU PF are distributing inputs on a partisan basis. The councilors addressed villagers at the Grain Marketing Board [GMB] on 11 November 2013 where they stated that the distribution scheme will only benefit ZANU-PF supporters since they are the ones who voted for the President who brought the programme to the community.

With all these cases and others in mind, there is need for Government to take necessary measures to ensure that there is fair distribution of inputs as is being done in other in areas such as Gokwe Sesame ward 3, Buhera ward 7 and Chiweshe ward 13.

Despite the call by Government officials like Davis Marapira (Deputy Minister of Agriculture-Mechanisation and Irrigation) who during the launch of the programme said that “… the distribution will be done through the office of the provincial and district administrators with the help of Arex extension officers and should benefit everyone.

We are not going to let them walk free if they abuse our President’s scheme because this will be great betrayal to our leader and the nation. “People should benefit and plough their land to combat perennial food shortages that have been haunting the country over the years…” It is HZT's hope that the relevant authorities will look into this unfairness especially now during the farming season in order to ensure that all those in need are cushioned.

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