'Bumper harvest to stop aid politicisation'

MUTARE - MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday said projected good harvests will undermine President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF’s capacity to abuse poor rural voters by politicising food aid.

Speaking to journalists after meeting church leaders, civic leaders and businesspeople here, the indefatigable opposition leader said while there was fear of intimidation, the ability of rural farmers to be self-sustaining would afford them a degree of independence to choose political leaders of their choice.

“There is fear among the people, especially the abuse of traditional leaders by Zanu PF whether it is food distribution, discriminatory food distribution and the role of traditional leaders in targeting MDC supporters . . .

“We also were witness to the fact that this year is different because there is a very substantial crop that is healthy, so potential for food subsidies is minimal and people are happy that the rains have provided them with an opportunity for self-sustenance.

“If people have been exploited when there is a drought situation, surely if there is no drought situation there will not be opportunity to exploit the poor in the rural areas. But even where there is drought, government must be able to provide aid to everyone without bias or discrimination,” Tsvangirai said.

With violence being targeted, especially at traditional leaders who have expressed interest in working with his party, the MDC leader took a stance of barring media coverage of the consultations to protect the identity of the participants.

He said intimidation remains a big area of concern across the country, describing it as a “very big aspect” going into the 2018 elections.

In this light, Tsvangirai said, people expressed concern at the neutrality of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) and involvement of the security establishment in tilting the vote in favour of Zanu PF.

“Fundamentally, people are concerned about past practices and that we need a free fair and credible electoral process.

“There were others who were expressing concern about the endorsement that sometimes comes from Sadc, AU when the situation is not free and fair so the question of monitoring the election becomes very critical. We are, however, assured that the United Nations is involved through the support of the purchase of biometric equipment, I’m sure they are going to spend over $200 million,” the MDC leader said.

He also said people were generally worried about “governance issues that have led to the collapse of the socio-economic situation in the country”.

“We are encouraging people to register, go and vote and defend your vote,” Tsvangirai said.

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