Only truth shall set us free as a country!

The nation is experiencing a severe drought, yet the government has not provided accurate information regarding grain reserves.

THERE is an African proverb which says, “The end of a cow is beef, the end of a lie is grief.” Put in another way, each falsehood spoken is a seed sown.

It is just a matter of time until lies are exposed.

Why are we discussing lies and the harm that they cause?

The nation is experiencing a severe drought, yet the government has not provided accurate information regarding grain reserves.

For example, Grain Marketing Board (GMB) acting operations director Patrick Muzvimbiri informed the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture last month that grain stocks were running low and would only last four months.

He said the quantity of grain stocks held in reserves was 156 681 metric tonnes (mt) of maize, 45 959mt of traditional grains and 247 578mt of wheat.

“Maize and traditional grains will last four months at the consumption rate of 45 000mt per month. Wheat stocks will last eight months at the consumption rate of 30 000mt per month,” Muzvimbiri said.

His revelations contrasted with government’s projections that the available grain stocks will last up to October.

In December, Cabinet said the country had enough grain to last until October this year.

Information minister Jenfan Muswere said the GMB held 235 095 tonnes of maize as of December 10, with the private sector said to have imported a further 186 341 tonnes of maize.

Davis Marapira, the deputy minister of Agriculture, fired back after Muzvimbiri revealed that the country had just four months' worth of grain and that there might be food shortages this year.

He reiterated that there was sufficient grain to last till the next harvest.

 “I was shocked to read in the media that we are left with stocks for only four months. Those are misleading statements. People should wait for the government, through the Ministry of Lands, to give correct figures,” he told the state-controlled media.

Tafadzwa Musarara, the president of the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe, also presented an optimistic picture, stating that millers had enough supplies to meet demand across the country.

Who is deceiving whom, then? For what reason would GMB, an organisation tasked with guarding the country's strategic grain stocks, lie to Parliament? There is no reason to lie or be politically charged when it comes to these issues; the government should be honest.

Mistruths will only lead us to grief. The government ought to know that running away from the truth is an act of cowardice.

Instead of playing politics and acting as if everything is fine, responsible authorities should start concentrating on how to address the effects of the impending drought.

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