IN his infamous SkyNews interview in April last year, President Mugabe said, “why foist food on us, do you want us to choke?”. Less than a year later, he is now desperately trying to assure the people that no one will starve.
For a head of state to talk about seven truckloads carrying a paltry 224 tonnes of maize for the whole Masvingo province shows the systematic use of maize for political gain. As a matter of fact, MDC imported more than 300 tonnes of maize for distribution for one constituency in 2003, which was confiscated by government. We had plans to bring in over 20 000 tonnes but were prevented from doing so.
People are starving in the following provinces: Manicaland, Masvingo, Matabeleland North and South and Midlands. This government is fully aware of the starving people throughout the country. At MDC rallies, which are always attended by police details, thousands of people complain about starvation. What happened to the 2,4 million plus tonnes bumper harvest? We have evidence of the rampant politicalisation of food by the regime.
The Grain Marketing Board claimed that there was enough maize to take the country to August this year. It is a fact, and they admitted it, that they have been importing maize all along. They have been receiving imports at the rate of 15 000 tonnes a month from a purchase from South Africa of 100 000 tons. It is this maize that they are distributing and selling selectively.
We know how the regime successfully stopped all food aid so that they are the only ones with food during the elections. The effect of the current rain shortfall would be later during the year, not now.
The country has now virtually run out of maize. There will be no food after the elections. If the voters make a mistake and vote Zanu PF into power, there will be starvation of major proportion in the country. The use of food to buy votes plus intimidation of voters is clear evidence that Zanu PF has no support whatsoever in the rural areas.
We will defeat Zanu PF inspite of all the threats and deliberate starving of people and usher in a new beginning for the people of this country.
MDC shadow Minister for
Lands and Agriculture,