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Manicaland Governor Mushowe fingered in food aid politicisation

Via CiZC mailing: The Manicaland Governor and aspiring Zanu-PF MP for Marange, Mutare West Constituency, Chris Mushowe, has been allegedly fingered in a scandal involving politicization of food aid.

According to Chiadzwa Community Development Trust (CCDT), the government mining corporate investor Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) donated 137 tonnes of mealie-meal on February 8, 2013, which reportedly did not reach deserving beneficiaries.

Apart from the mealie-meal, the donation included 260 tonnes of fertilizer and 60 bicycles.

The Crisis Report Team spoke to Mrs. Melanie Chiponda of Marange, the pro-ject coordinator for CCDT, a local non-governmental organisation, who con-firmed the scandal.

It has not yet been confirmed that Mushowe was not acting under instruction, as ZMDC has been accused of not remitting diamond money from Marange to government coffers.

According to Finance Minister Tendai Biti, Government coffers were reported to be having as little as US$ 217 as bank balance.

The government mining investor ZMDC is suspected to be sponsoring ZANU-PF’s patronage projects, including the Presidential Inputs Scheme.

“The biggest mystery however is the whereabouts of 160 tonnes of fertiliser and 62 tonnes of mealie meal donated by ZMDC.

“The community only received 80 tonnes of fertiliser out of 260 tonnes and 75 tonnes of mealie meal out of 137 tonnes donated,” said Chiponda.

In a suspected case of discrimination and politicization of food hand outs, it is alleged Mushowe gave the acting Chief Marange’s Ward 10, 15 extra-tonnes of mealie-meal in a bid to patronize the traditional leader and his subjects for votes.

Mushowe lost his bid to represent Marange, Mutare West Constituency, in the House of Assembly in the last harmonized elections in 2008 and is reportedly seeking a comeback in the forthcoming elections expected in 2013.

Queried over the uneven distribution, Mushowe is said to have cynically directed the unhappy Marange folks to sitting MDC-T MP Hon. Mudiwa for the area, who beat him in the last elections in 2008.

Mushowe could not be reached for comment.

The ZMDC owns a stake in Marange diamond mining activities, and is also involved in the mining of other minerals such as gold and emerald and was established by an Act of Parliament No. 31 of 1982, to engage in mining ventures on behalf of the government.

Chiponda pleaded with the Government to investigate the alleged “mystery” of the whereabouts of the missing 160 tonnes of fertilizer and 62 tonnes of mealie meal donated by ZMDC.

The aid was reportedly earmarked to benefit 12 wards in Marange and each ward was supposed to receive about 11, 4 tonnes of mealie meal and 21, 5 tonnes of fertilizer, but received just 5 tonnes of each commodity.

“The mining of diamonds in Marange affected everyone and not a single political party, thus when donations are given to the community they should benefit everyone,” complained Chiponda.

According to the latest Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) report 15 percent (209,364 households) in Manicaland are dire need of urgent food aid.

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