Zanu PF is reportedly sidelining Marange villagers resettled at Arda Transau Relocation Area from benefiting from the Pfumvudza government-funded agricultural inputs programme, the Zimbabwe Independent can report.
The Pfumvudza programme was adopted by the government as a measure to address the problems of low productivity and profitability of farming which continue to negatively affect the food security situation in the country. The programme entails provision of free inputs to farmers by the government.
Resettled villagers bemoan that the ruling party councillor for the area was using the government-funded programme meant to benefit all citizens to settle political scores.
Idah Kambeni, a villager who spoke to this publication lamented that as relocated villagers, they were yet to witness the fruits of Pfumvudza since the government programme was launched several years ago.
“We have heard that Pfumvudza is good through the radio but we are yet to see it for ourselves. We have not received anything and the manner in which the inputs are distributed is partisan.
“Village A and B got seven bags of fertilisers only, yet these are two villages with over 200 households. Right now we don’t have maize seed or fertilisers yet we have made land preparation,” Kambeni said.
Arda Transau Relocation Development Trust (ATRDT) chairperson Donaldson Masvaure confirmed that the majority of relocated villagers were denied free inputs.
Masvaure, who was resettled by diamond mining company Anjin Investments, said villages under their relocation area number from A to D with a population of nearly 700 households.
He hastened to point out that only seven people per village, with an approximate average population of 150 households were selected to receive inputs.
“The problem is our Ward councillor favours people from other villages who are benefitting from Pfumvudza. They get everything but only a few of us do,” said Masvaure.
The Independent gathered that the Marange villagers were relocated to Arda Transau — a farm in Odzi that was previously owned by State entity Agriculture Rural and Development Agency (ARDA).
The area is located under Ward 3 which encompasses 50 villages located in Arda Transau in Odzi, Goodhope in Riverside, Takunda in Clare and Chikundu in Mapembe, Bocha with a total population of 5 041 people.
Technically, this means that the Marange community joined other villages, which were already residing in surrounding areas — a scenario that has brought challenges to the “newcomers”.
“You will find that we are treated as outcasts by the councillor and the fact that he is not from Marange makes it difficult for him to represent our interests because he does not relate to our challenges,” Masvaure said.
However, the incumbent councillor could not respond to the allegations as he indicated that the matter was sensitive.
“These issues cannot be discussed over the phone. Those are delicate issues, I suggest we meet in person,” he said.
He further said he was engaged in other commitments when the Independent attempted to set up a face-to-face interview with him.
He becomes the second Zanu PF councillor to preside over the area following the relocation of the Marange villagers in 2010.
ATRDT added that its attempts to become a standalone ward has not been positively responded to by authorities
“Between 2013 and 2015, we applied to the Mutare Rural District Council (RDC) to be a standalone ward but we are still waiting for the feedback from the authorities. When you look at our issues, you will realise that ours is a special case and we feel that our grievances are not fully represented because the councillors that have represented us are not from Marange and do not relate with our issues.
“We want to be represented by one of our own and that can only happen if we become a standalone ward,” Masvaure said.
The Independent gathered that the size and population of Ward 3 recorded an alarming spike during the 2018 polls.
Critics allege that its growth was politically motivated to bolster the ruling party provincial chairperson Mike Madiro to garner enough numbers to win the Mutare North constituency.
Information gathered also indicated Ward 5, located in Dora encompass 100 villages against 50 villages under Ward 3.