Residents of Chiredzi Urban Ward 6 and 7 have petitioned the District Development Coordinator (DDC) over what they see as unfair and biased distribution of World Food Program (WFP), TellZim News has learnt.
This comes in the wake of allegations that Zanu PF structures are manipulating the DDC’s office to channel the assistance to wards with ruling party councillors.
In letter dated October 23 and addressed to the Lovemore Chisema, petitioners allege that the distribution exercise is being implemented in a politicised manner to exclude people from wards with MDC Alliance councillors.
“Currently on the Plan International and WFP urban assistance, Ward 6 and 7 are left out as if there is absence of vulnerable families in these wards. This is a serious cause for concern as vulnerable families believe that your office will intervene in the spirit of equity and justice for all. For the vulnerable in Ward 6 and 7, our average income is US$0.35 per day.
“It becomes a worry among us the vulnerable families in Ward 6 and 7 when aid agencies continue excluding us from these programs without a concrete reason from your office and team. The general feeling in Ward 6 and 7 is that we are being persecuted for political reasons as our councillors are from the opposition party,” reads part of the letter.
When contacted for Chisema dismissed the allegations saying the exercise was being implemented in a transparent and systematic manner.
“When a program comes into an area especially food aid, it comes targeting the most vulnerable person in the most vulnerable ward. Beneficiaries are ranked according to their level of vulnerability. The beneficiaries are chosen through a systematic method and it’s nothing intentional,” said Chisema.
Chisema said wards 3, 4, 5 and 8 had already benefitted while wards 1, 2, 6 and 7 were set to benefit depending on the vulnerability rankings.
Zanu PF Masvingo provincial spokesperson, Ronald Ndava also rubbished the allegations saying his party did not have influence over the determination of beneficiaries.
“Our party is not involved in distribution of food aid but there are government arms which work directly with WFP in that programme. I don’t know why people drag Zanu PF into these kinds of issues. We don’t fit anywhere there. There are people who just speak recklessly to the media,” said Ndava.
WFP Zimbabwe country director and representative, Francesca Erdelmann told TellZim News her organisation was committed to the reduction of hunger in needy communities regardless of political affiliation.
“WFP is committed to ensure that food insecure and vulnerable households receive food assistance, independently of political affiliation. This participatory process identified wards 3, 4, 5 and 8 as the most in need. WFP continues to monitor the food security situation and if more resources become available, WFP will scale up its assistance prioritizing the most vulnerable households,” said Erdelmann.
The Urban Social Assistance is meant to benefit 10 000 vulnerable people from 2 000 households in Chiredzi.
The program is being run as a collaboration between WFP and Plan International.