SENIOR Zanu PF officials in Manicaland have hijacked the distribution of agricultural inputs under the presidential input scheme in Mutasa district, with reports MDC-T supporters were being forced to surrender party cards and regalia in order to benefit.
Mutasa district received 159 tonnes of seed maize, 1 070 tonnes of Compound D and 1 240 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate fertilisers. The inputs are being distributed through GMB depots.
According to Agritex, each household should get 10kgs seed maize, 50kg Ammonium Nitrate and 50kg Compound D fertiliser.
Mutasa villagers interviewed this week accused top Zanu PF officials, including Mutasa senator Oppah Muchinguri, traditional leaders and Zanu PF councillors of taking over the distribution of the inputs.
In wards won by MDC-T councillors, headmen aligned to Zanu PF are in charge of the programme. Manicaland Provincial Agritex officer, Godfrey Mamhare, said the distribution of the inputs should be done by Agritex officials, working with a distribution committee in the community.
Mamhare said: “I can confirm that Manicaland received its allocation last week and distribution has already begun. The beneficiaries will be selected by a selection committee that involves people from the villages, wards, districts and provinces.
“Yes, this is a government programme where everyone should benefit. The inputs are not adequate; I am afraid that not all are going to benefit from this scheme.”
Mutasa Central MP Trevor Saruwaka (MDC-T) said it was unfortunate that the input distribution was being politicised by Zanu PF.
“This is not a Zanu PF initiative, it is a government programme. The agricultural inputs are for all the people and not Zanu PF supporters only,” he said. “There are some Zanu PF councillors who lost the elections to MDC-T councillors, but they have hijacked the programme and have been mandated with compiling the list of beneficiaries.”
Chidawanyika headman Cephas Mashingaidze in Mutasa Central constituency has been calling on MDC-T supporters in his area to surrender party cards and regalia to him if they want to receive the farming inputs.
Addressing mourners at Nyarudzu homestead recently in ward 17, headman Chidawanyika said: “We will soon be receiving some farming inputs from the government. These inputs are from President Mugabe and those who are MDC-T supporters will not receive these inputs. If they want them then they should come and surrender their party cards and regalia to me.”
Muchinguri was this week seen at the GMB depot in Mutasa. A senior official at GMB depot who requested not to be named for fear of victimisation said: “There is nothing we can do. We do not have any powers to object to what Zanu PF leaders say.”