SOMETHING is terribly wrong at the Grain Marketing Board. Your paper’s report that the chief executive of this parastatal failed to show up for a parliamentary inquiry is simply a demonstration of the arrogance of the board.
In any serious democracy, failure to show up for a hearing by a parliamentary committee would result in jail time. It is akin to contempt of court. But, more disturbing, the GMB seems now to believe that it is not answerable to the people of this country.
I urge the Speaker of Parliament to take action against this contempt of parliament if our votes are to have any meaning at all.
One would understand the arrogance of the GMB if they were meeting their mandate. But as things stand right now, there is no parastatal more inept in Zimbabwe than the GMB. During a national crisis, people at the GMB are busy twiddling their thumbs. I know for a fact that people in the rural areas, who should be supplying Zimbabwe with the grain it so desperately needs, are finding it difficult to even take their produce to the GMB depots around the country.
It is fact that peasants in Murehwa, for instance, sold their recent maize harvests to a local prominent businessman who also happens to be a Zanu PF stalwart.
This man has been sending trucks around the villages and collecting perfectly good maize. There are also suspicions that he intends to hoard the grain in anticipation of a shortage, at which point he will make a killing.
This is not a cooked-up story and I will be willing to repeat it under oath.
Another bothersome thing is that the GMB tells villagers that there is no transport and that they should deliver their produce themselves.
Does the GMB understand the meaning of the word crisis? We have been experiencing shortages of maize and now that villagers have harvested some maize, the GMB is not willing to go out of its way to mop every last bucket available in Zimbabwe. Should anyone die of hunger between now and the next harvest their blood should be on the hands of the GMB.
I am also extremely disappointed with Agriculture minister Joseph Made who appears to have shirked his responsibility when it comes to the GMB which appears to be unaccountable to anyone, including even President Mugabe himself.
The GMB must be made to understand that playing games with food security is satanic and treasonous. Doesn’t the GMB realize that this game they are playing will ultimately stoke hunger that will culminate in food riots?
When we find ourselves in a situation of food shortages, I urge the papers to publish the residential addresses of the GMB top brass as well as directions to their rural homes so that the people will vent their wrath at the right targets.
Even after failing to show up at the parliamentary hearing, I know that Made is not going to fire whoever is responsible. This ineptitude must be paid for in the form of scalps of the management at the GMB.