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ZANU-PF hijacks and politicises grain loan scheme in Masvingo

The government's grain loan scheme has been hijacked by ZANU PF in Masvingo Province. Cases of harassment and intimidation are on the increase amid reports that ZANU PF politicians have taken over the government initiated facility. People residing in Rupike, Tugwane, Mavizhu, Muchibwa, and Maburutse villages in Masvingo province are reported to be facing starvation while the government controlled Grain loan scheme is allegedly being abused by politicians.

Mr Benson Shuro, a Masvingo South local told the Crisis Report Team in an interview that villagers are being denied food and forced to denounce their party affiliation in return for assistance as marauding Zanu PF militants continue to wage war of attrition against perceived political enemies. All this is happening despite the fact that villages had properly put their names forward and submitted photocopies of their identity particulars.

The local alleges that Zanu PF is using local councillors, village heads, and traditional chiefs to sideline MDC supporters in rural areas from government food lists that are used when distributing food. He also lamented on how villagers, are likely to face yet another dry agricultural season, as selective distribution of seed and fertilizer was one of the major reasons for their failure to reap significantly in the last season.

Mr Eckson Mawire (58), a victim and also an MDC-T member who resides in ward 23 in Mukazi Village near Muchibwa Old Township also aired out his grievances over the way the Maize Grain Loan Scheme is being stage-managed by Zanu-PF members.

"We are starving here, we have no food. The major problem is that when food is distributed we are not given because they say we are MDC members. Lots of food is being distributed but we are left in the cold because of our political inclination, € said Mr Mawire.

Mr Mawire alleges that after submitting his ID photocopies, and having duly paid the required (US) $2 cash for transport, the Grain was finally delivered at the Muchibwa Old Township. It was only when he presented himself to the officials in order to receive his allocation that he was told he should quit supporting the MDC-T if at all he wanted to benefit from   the Grain Loan Scheme facility.

The inclusive government introduced the grain loan scheme last year in which communal farmers get grain from the Grain Marketing Board and repay after harvest. The scheme is supposed to benefit close to a million households in grain deficit areas.

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