President Mugabe Denies Politicisation Of Food Aid

President Robert Mugabe on Friday dismissed allegations that distribution of food aid in drought stricken areas was being politicised as claimed by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), reports Zimbabwe’s New Ziana news agency.

Zimbabwe, like most of its neighbours in the Southern African Development Community region, is grappling with an El-Nino induced drought, which has left almost a quarter of the population in need of food aid.

President Mugabe has since declared the food situation a state of national disaster.

In a statement early this week, the human rights body claimed that Zimbabwe’s ruling party was deliberately withholding food aid from opposition supporters.

“Ruling party members were the major perpetrators in violations linked to distribution of food,” ZHRC chairman Elasto Mugwadi told the media.

But, President Mugabe, who was addressing a Zanu PF Central Committee meeting at party headquarters said the accusations were false.

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“The information which some stupid people and stupid spokesperson of, is it human rights commission, have put out to say grain is being distributed along party lines is completely false, absolutely false,” he said.

“If grain is going to party people and only to them, how are the others surviving then?”

President Mugabe said such statements were only meant to attract international attention, and declared that no one would starve regardless of political affiliation.

“For now we are still faced with drought and hunger in a number of places and so we continue to distribute grain in areas worst affected by the drought in order to ensure no one starves,” he said.

He urged farmers to start preparing for this year’s farming season, taking advantage of the forecasted good rain season.

“We understand that the 2016/17 season might be better, that it might bring more rains for us, anyway whatever fortunes or misfortunes that lie ahead ours is to prepare and to be found ready.”

The Meteorological Services Department on Wednesday said Zimbabwe would receive normal to above normal rainfall with the first rains expected in the southern areas of the country towards the end of this month.

Meanwhile, President Mugabe reiterated that Zanu PF would not be pushed into another power sharing government with opposition political parties through violent protests.

Violent protests, sponsored by opposition political parties and other social groups trying to push for electoral reforms and other social and economic ills they feel government is failing to tackle have rocked Zimbabwe in the past few weeks.

“The banner of Nera which they have used as a pretext to resort to violent demonstrations is quite clearly a smokescreen for their realintentions. They want to avoid going to the general elections in 2018 by crafting a false electoral crisis which they hope would be addressed ahead of any plebiscite by outsiders,” he said.

“For the avoidance of doubt, let me reiterate what we have said about our elections. Elections in Zimbabwe are the hallmark of our democracy and all the elections we have held before in this country, follow the dictates of our constitution to the letter and spirit.”

President Mugabe warned that government would descend heavily on protesters who turned violent.

“Let the opposition parties and all those angling for chaos and mayhem, and violent demonstrations be warned that our patience has run out. Government will take very strong measures against any political party, organisation or individuals that perpetrate violent demonstrations,” he said.

— BERNAMA