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Food Aid held at ransom in Mutare

Hunger and extreme poverty has become the order of the day in many Zimbabwean households especially in most rural communities where the situation is becoming untenable with allegations that President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party activists are politicizing food aid ahead of elections. Makoni South and Mutare West are no exceptions.

In an interview with the Crisis Report Hon Pishayi Muchauraya and Hon Shuah Mudiwa, MPs of Makoni South and Mutare West respectively, shared concerns of the partisan manner in which the Grain loan scheme is being handled in their respective constituencies. They both shared stories of bias and corruption in the implementation of the scheme and fears of residents' lives being compromised solely because of their political affiliation. Pishayi named wards 23, 18, 31 and 29 as being the most affected in Makoni South.

Manicaland was affected by drought and poor farming preparations in the 2011-12 season, with some farmers failing to harvest anything. The grain loan scheme introduced by the government to help households secure food has reportedly been hijacked by influential individuals. In Mutare West traditional leaders have taken it upon themselves to hold basic human rights at ransom by denying MDC supporters food aid. Suspected MDC sympathisers have been turned away empty handed in the hopes of them changing their political views to receive food aid and feed their families.

In another report, the Makoni Rural District council in charge of Nyazura is being accused of billing residents for services that have not been delivered.   Residents have since forgotten the last time their refuse was collected or sewage systems functioned  properly, but the bills keep coming in. In a show of serious abuse of power, a resident whose name was only given as Tembo had his car taken by the council as payment for his unpaid bills. There have been reports of threats being made by council to take property which include houses against these bills.

A meeting has been set for today Friday the 13th of July 2012 at Nyazura Township to give the community clear understanding of their rights as residents and how to best tackle issues of harassment, intimidation and human rights abuses.

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