Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Zimbabwe: govt not joking ... takes control of food aid

It appears the government of Zimbabwe wasn't joking about taking control of food aid away from non-governmental aid organizations. This is developing into a very serious situation because there is a food crisis in the country.
Local elections are due this month and critics fear that Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party wants to use the food to influence the outcome.

... The directive demands that all non-government organisations surrender their food stocks to the government and no longer select beneficiaries, as they have been doing in a well-organised emergency relief programme over the past year.

When Zimbabwe had grain stocks of its own and provided a minor work-for-food relief programme last year, it was found to be withholding assistance to tens of thousands of opposition supporters.

Three months after the latest harvest, the government has no grain to distribute to people on the brink of starvation, including supporters of the ruling Zanu-PF.