Bigwigs pillage new $500m agric scheme

HARARE - Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs minister, Martin Dinha, has made startling claims that senior Zanu PF officials and members of the military are looting the new $500 million government-funded Command Agriculture programme, which seeks to improve the country’s food security.

The looting has echoes of a similar State-backed scheme — the Farm Mechanisation programme, which was abused by bigwigs who ended up not paying a single cent for the equipment that they received, forcing the Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to recover the money through a controversial  debt-assumption law.

Dinha made his shocking revelations to Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week, adding that officers responsible for the scheme
were being harangued and inundated with requests from politicians and military personnel.

“Most of these culprits are officials from the army and some politicians. Some of the ordinary farmers would have spent days queuing for inputs only for senior officials to come and collect the whole load that would have been delivered,” the stressed Dinha said.

It was confirmed to the Daily News yesterday that Mnangagwa had been given a comprehensive list of those officials who stand accused of looting the Command Agriculture inputs scheme.

“These are big fish and hopefully the VP will do something about it, otherwise the scheme will collapse as happened with other similar programmes in the past,” a senior government official who requested anonymity said.

“We know the culprits and they should be stopped because this will cause disinterest among intended beneficiaries who would have waited for a long time to access the inputs,” the concerned official added.

Speaking at the same occasion where Dinha briefed him last week, Mnangagwa threatened to punish all the people who would be caught stealing from the scheme.

“Now we are told some senior officials are now collecting inputs from districts at the expense of small-scale farmers and in some cases taking the whole load. This is unacceptable and whoever has been doing so must stop,” he warned.

Under the scheme, farmers were given fertilisers, seed and tractors.

On Friday, former Vice President Joice Mujru, who now leads the opposition Zimbabwe People First (ZPF), also accused top military personnel of looting the programme.

“After the land reform, one would argue that with better soils on the A1 farms, the peasant and smallholder farmers could grow more than 90 percent of the maize needed for our domestic consumption.

“But Mugabe’s government has chosen to ignore these farmers, instead creating a looting machine called Command Agriculture — a $500 million facility being abused by top Zanu PF and military personnel who are now selling agricultural inputs ranging from seed, diesel, fertiliser, pesticides and herbicides on the black market.

“After the failure of ‘Operation Maguta’, carried out by the army some time past, it does not make sense to entrust the same personnel with command agriculture and expect different results,” Mujuru said in her end-of-year speech.

Despite assurances from the government that farmers who access the current scheme would be audited, there are growing concerns that many of the bigwigs who are looting it will escape censure from the authorities.

Zim history is littered with myriad stories of looting from the State by Zanu PF and senior government officials.

Some of scandals include the illegal resale of cars purchased under a government VIP scheme which became known as the Willowgate scandal, after it was abused by ministers and the War Victims Compensation Fund in which money meant for freedom fighters was fraudulently siphoned out through inflated claims by Cabinet ministers or senior members of the uniformed forces.

Comments (21)

so ZANU-PF officials are stealing money and reources meant for small-scale farmers. The small scal farmers might want to remember that when the time comes to vote. How about naming some of the ZANU-PF and military officias looting the country's money?

david taylor - 2 January 2017

Nothing will happen to these thugs. Munangwa will look through the list and keep a file on each of the 'culprits' as his way of controlling them, just like mugabe has been doing all these years. He (Mnangagwa) is probably doing worse with the command agric inputs. The stupidity of the whole situation is that we know what is wrong but we keep trying to fix something else. Its like you go the the hospital coughing and they run tests and discover you have TB, but you go home and start taking pepto-bsimol three times a day and hope that the TB will resolve. Of course it wont, and you will eventually die if you do not take the proper medication. Similarly, in Zimbabwe we know that corruption and the current government policies are the root causes of all the economic and other crises, but we keep trying to come up with these smoke in mirrors ideas to fix things... sad sad and more sad

gudo - 2 January 2017

pamuromo chete, hapana zvavanoitwa . Kubva 1980 Nyagumbo chete

mhepo - 3 January 2017

pamuromo chete, hapana zvavanoitwa . Kubva 1980 Nyagumbo chete

mhepo - 3 January 2017

pamuromo chete, hapana zvavanoitwa . Kubva 1980 Nyagumbo chete

mhepo - 3 January 2017

Try to see the bigger picture ,of the successes of Command Agriculture.To put together $500m from Zim investors is great.Our local banks and local investors are the owners of this scheme ,which is doing wonders.South Africa is talking of doing the same to its poor farmers.Thats skill from VP.To invite local investors ,rally them for this project to start ,is skill.There maybe a few bad apples as always but the bigger picture is the successes of this project.All farmers that want this have all been given assistance.There is adverts in papers ,who to call if a farmer needs this scheme.Excellency personified here. But yu arent seen all from vp.Yu will be the witnesses of his calculations and actions for our economy.

viola gwena - 3 January 2017

Excellence ipi nhai Viola? These bigwigs loot with the express permission from Mugabe. Your attempt at trying to exonerate your VP is pathetic. Who doesn't know that all of the ZANU PF hierarchy is corrupt? Nothing will happen here unless any of these minions steps out of line and becomes a sacrificial lamb. Iwe uri Lacoste chete, that's why you have taken your stance. You must think Zimbabweans are stupid. Where was this 'excellence' when your VP oversaw the slaughter of 20 000 of our people? Tinyarei mhani!

Rasta! - 3 January 2017

@Viola, Ngwena is the biggest thief of all time. We are going to strip him off his illegal riches in 2018. He has a lot of farms around Zimb yet they took away farms from whites saying we must all have 1 farm. We are taking him and ZANU down in 2018

Mentalist - 3 January 2017

Abuse of state facilities which are meant to benefit ordinary citizens is no news to us. ZANU Pf politicians have been looting since 1980, even those who joined ZANU later , the likes of Kasukuwere started looting recently. ZANU pf is equivant to bad weed which chalks plantations, we wil chuck it off in 2018 whether there is Nikuv or not.

Mentalist - 3 January 2017

@viola gwena - as you can read on this platform, people are fed up with your Zanu PF and the never ending programs which are primarily looting grounds for the Zanunoids while the scraps are then given to the people, just a smoke screen to cover up for the massive looting. After 36 years you should seriously doubt our intelligence @viola if we are to trust anything Zanu.

Diego - 3 January 2017 heard it from the horses mouth"dinha"that this is what is on the ground and you say "as always" a few dead apples.dead you shut up

justsaying - 3 January 2017

Step back from mono-culture with commercial seed and fertilizer, it produces 'fake' nutrients is just profitable for the fertilizer/seed companies. Invest in variety and use permaculture!

Mr Ruwa - 3 January 2017

Alternatives like growing mealworms and grasshoppers for consumption or as chickenfood will be a step forward. Start recycling everything available and open eco-tourism facilities. Attrackt responsible people instead of bigspenders, focust on game and golf.

Mr Ruwa - 3 January 2017

Stealing in ZANU PF is customary and habitual.

Mukanya - 3 January 2017

Thank yu all .IYo commens are much appreciated bcoz yu are registering yo anger on what is happening in yo country.Its yo country yu youngsters.But allow me to tell yu that the chance to remove Zanu was availed to yu all from 2000 to 2008.They say yu even won in 2008 but yo leaders opted to run to khama to hide from presidency.Yu fluffed yo chances.Now we cant hand it to yu on a platter.Zanu is now back,wth a seriouse vigiancy.Our campaign is to pple,rurals and then towns.What Ngwena is doing will feed the rurals ,wthout NGOs.Silos will be full.Yu mdc are muting yo plans ,fighting wth yoselves for party positions,which our mujuru may even land for herself,wthout doing much for yo supporters.They dont eat manja,or palms bt food.Yu come to us in rurals wth nothing but wavings and expect our votes ,no.Bring maize,cooking oil,yaah not slogans and stories,pathetic stories of suffering n yet yu jump out of twin cabs wth beautifull light skinned women,pointed shoes.I will stay zanu .Ngwena will change zanu.It will be a Chama chamapinduzi .Ngwena is Helmut Khol.Bring down walls .We including yu kids will prosper .

viola gwena - 3 January 2017

Mr Tsvangirai is always in the company of a chinese woman,or is it mai Tsvangirai.If t is her ,my my my.Talk about identit crisis from the mother of mdc.Why look like that.What examble yu giving yung girls,to be light skinned?Is being black that bad?I look at her n think its Wang Zhu.Plse somebody wisper smething to her.Black is beauty askana,.Yu must stay black.Yo husband is really black ,why yu dislike the colour.

viola gwena - 3 January 2017

Viola you are so disgusting.You act as if you were promised something by Ngwena when he ascends to presidency,but i am sorry to tell you that his chances of landing the presidency are as good as a snowball's chance in hell.The problem with people like you is even if Ngwena himself tells you that he is a thief,you will still deny it so idiots like you are better left in their idiocy.

Janana wa Bikaz - 3 January 2017

Viola you are so disgusting.You act as if you were promised something by Ngwena when he ascends to presidency,but i am sorry to tell you that his chances of landing the presidency are as good as a snowball's chance in hell.The problem with people like you is even if Ngwena himself tells you that he is a thief,you will still deny it so idiots like you are better left in their idiocy.

Janana wa Bikaz - 3 January 2017

God! Its like asking Al Capone to investigate Meyer Lansky! Zimbabweans, where on earth do you think Mnangagwa got all his money? From hard work? He and the chefs, black and white have been stealing the bread out of your mouths and you don't notice it. The sooner you all UNITE under the NTA banner the sooner you will free yourselves. The NTA is the ONLY body that is APOLITICAL.

MILES R ANDERSON - 3 January 2017

Cde Advocate Dr M.T,Dinha be careful my brother u have not learnt anything from yr not recent court cases and attempted murder cases.Shut up my brother and let those who loot do so .Zvineyi newe .The crooks in Zanu Pf will take u out or create another court case for u .Shut up and enjoy the gravy train.I have always wondered y an intelligent young man like Dinha wants from a rotten party like Zanu Pf ?Enjoy it as it is coming to an end bro.Soon u also will run hahahahaha hahahaha

Cde Totonga - 4 January 2017

@Viola, with all due respect, your political views are your own don't try to ram them down everyone's throat. Calling contributors you don't know kids makes one question your emotional intelligence - don't patronise folks you dont know. Its clear to anyone who cares to listen - the majority of Zimbabweans are so so tired of this party called Zanu PF, what they stand for, their modus operandi, their propaganda, their cruelty everything they represent. People are not looking forward to the same animal, dressed up as something new, to expect a different result. Only the insane go that route. This liberation war made many insane, you (and your crowd) could be victims of PTSD.

Sagitarr - 4 January 2017

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