Cabinet Ministers alleging that Command Agriculture money could have been misappropriated are in their own right “thieves” that are known to have embezzled State funds, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister, Dr Christopher Mushohwe said yesterday.
In apparent reference to Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo who has been denigrating Government programmes including Command Agriculture on his Twitter account, Minister Mushohwe said Government policies were only communicated through his ministry.
Minister Mushohwe was speaking during a meeting with editors of various media outlets in the country.
“I am telling you that Command Agriculture is a Government policy. Anybody who says anything otherwise is sharing his or her personal opinion and not Government policy. Those who say Command Agriculture is being run by thieves, are the thieves themselves,” he said.
“I will give you a good example. If I go to my constituency and tell the people in my constituency that I want them to vote for me in 2018 and that I am going to come here next week and build a big dam for you they will all ululate, but it will not happen unless the Minister of Finance says yes the money is there. So, there are people who talk about things they are not supposed to talk about for one reason or another.
“So why do you worry about individual statements, which do not contribute towards the development of our country. Musha usina benzi ndewani, ndiudze? Mungabva mati musha wese ndewemapenzi nemunhu one?”
Minister Mushohwe said all indications pointed to a bumper maize crop this year, which was good news because it meant that Zimbabwe would not be importing maize this year.
He said the country was poised to export surplus maize this year, a feat that had eluded Zimbabwe for the past two decades due to external factors coupled with perennial droughts and the imposition of illegal sanctions against the country.
“The good news is that any maize exports will contribute to both foreign currency earnings for the country and foreign currency savings as Government will no longer be compelled to import maize and other cereals, which have done well this year. We are closer to regaining our lost status as the breadbasket of the sub-region,” he said.
“The combination of both good rains and the agricultural skills which our farmers have acquired and sharpened over time, vindicates the country’s land reform programme. It debunks the myth that the land acquisition policy which enabled Government to reclaim land, our land, from the few white colonial settlers and giving it back to its rightful owners, killed our agriculture.”
He said land reform was meant to correct a historical colonial grievance of land disenfranchisement for the Africans and empowering indigenous Zimbabweans as owners of their land.
Minister Mushohwe said the policy was beginning to bear fruit and the results from the tobacco sector and now maize sector bore ample testimony to the efficacy of that policy decision.
Denigrating Command Agriculture, in a message on March 6 following a story published in The Herald Prof Moyo wrote on his Twitter handle: “Report by @Herald Zimbabwe that ‘Command Agric exceeds target’ is at best premature & at worst needlessly false!”
He went on to post on March 10 that “1/2: Maize is on 1,3m ha: 1,1m is Presidential Input Scheme; 153,102.60ha is Command Agriculture & the rest private!”
Prof Moyo on the same date added “2/2: Command Agriculture targeted 400 000ha but contracted 247,035ha of which 191,124ha (77 percent) were tilled & 153,102.60ha (61 percent) were planted on!”
On March 11, he also wrote that, “Command is a tried & tested military concept. It is also a great in programming. But in civil matters command is an oxymoron & non- starter!”-Herald