THE ruling Zanu PF has reportedly ordered underprivileged villagers in drought-stricken Matabeleland North province to produce party membership cards before they could access food aid.
The claims were made by the Tendai Biti-led opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP)’s provincial spokesperson Thabani Nkomazana yesterday.
He said several elderly and physically challenged villagers in Bubi district were denied drought relief food last month after they were deemed opposition party members.
“The government, through the Social Services Department, is distributing food aid to the elderly and disabled, but Zanu PF is taking advantage of the food and economic crisis in the country to demand party cards from the villagers who are supposed to benefit from the programme,” he said.
“In Bubi district’s wards 2, 3, 4, 7 and 22, there is serious partisan distribution of food taking place.
“To Zanu PF, maize has become a campaign tool in rural Matabeleland. The councillors have now become too partisan such that they are no longer representing everybody, but their party. They do not tolerate non-Zanu PF members and are already using food in preparation for the 2018 elections.”
Nkomazana said most villagers had resorted to buying Zanu PF cards just to save their skin and access government-sourced food aid.
“People will end up joining Zanu PF not because they support and love it, but just to get food. We are in a serious fix. When they are conducting rallies or meetings, they make sure that they take along with them food, which they give to those who will have attended and those are asked to produce party cards,” he said.
However, Zanu PF Matabeleland North chairman Richard Moyo refuted the accusations.
“That is nonsense. That food is not for the party. It is for the aged and the disabled. What is needed from the beneficiaries are only their identity particulars. Only the councillors are handling that food and if they (PDP) want to give that food to their members, they are lost,” Moyo said.