'Corruption, insecurity driving food insecurity'

BULAWAYO - Poor management, corruption and politicking are the major drivers of food insecurity in Zimbabwe, a think-tank — Centre for Public Engagement (CPE) — has said.

Presenting a paper on humanitarian aid in the country at a Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ)-organised forum yesterday, CPE director Samukele Hadebe said resources meant for the “vulnerable and very poor are were being politicised and diverted”.

“Food aid remains a high risk for corrupt practices . . . hence denying the intended beneficiaries of their rightful benefits further deepening their vulnerability,” he said.

Hadebe said the perennial food insecurity that Zimbabweans have grappled with for years was a direct responsibility of government.

“We are talking of the system that is failing to deliver its promises, where poor management and corruption is now the order of the day.

“We are suffering because government has failed to improve food security and do away with dependency in the country,” he told the gathering.

The think-tank director said several strategies dating back to the early 80s aimed at building food resilience by government, such as Free Food Distribution Programme, Food for Work, Grain Loan Scheme, Public Works Programme and Operation Maguta, among others, have been implemented but “yielded nothing”.

“The issue of food security goes beyond farming but also goes to resuscitation of industry, which becomes a governance issue again.”

Hadebe also cited internal factional politics within the ruling Zanu PF as having a huge impact on food security.

“Food aid is intricately linked to the country’s developmental challenges and the imbroglio of the social-economic meltdown and political impasse caused by internal factional politics of the ruling party,” he said.

With dwindling financial resources coupled with policy inconsistencies, “it would be foolhardy to expect that food deficit mitigation strategy would fare any better”.

He, however, said a significant turnaround of the economy and massive injection of capital accompanied by infrastructure rehabilitation was the only way to reduce vulnerability and build resilience in communities for long term food security.

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