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Villagers Asked to Pay For Government Food Aid

MUTARE– Vulnerable families in Manicaland are losin their hard earned cash to some unscrupulous traditional and community leaders who demand payment of transport cost of delivering government food aid.

Mutare Rural District Council (MRDC) chief executive officer, Shepherd Chinaka said in some areas in Manicaland, community members were being asked to pay for delivery of government grain.

He was speaking during a Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) public finance management (PFM) Reform Indaba, Mutare Rural District Council (MRDC) chief executive officer, Shepherd Chinaka said in some areas in Manicaland, community members were being asked to pay for delivery of government grain.

“We have received reports at our offices that some members of the community are being asked to contribute some money to ensure that the aid gets to their distribution centres.

“This is why we have raised this concern because we had prior knowledge that its government that takes this aid to these centres but it has happened in the community and the people are complaining that the charges are exorbitant,” said Chinaka.

However a provincial officer with the Ministry of Social welfare, Vincent Masukume said government has a structure set up to deliver grain to all collection centres without the members of the public paying anything.

“In terms of transportation of grain to the beneficiaries, government is obliged to take the grain right to the beneficiaries it was also the wish of government to be able to even grind the maize into mealie meal

“Government is providing all transport costs for all the grain entry point or point of dispatch to the local district deports, the department of social department will carter for the cost of distribution.

“So no one should be paying for the transportation of grain,” said Masukume.

ZIMCODD provincial chairperson, Mildret Muzanechita castigated unscrupulous officials who are fleecing off vulnerable villagers for further burdening communities that need social assistance saying this was tantamount to violation of their social economic justice rights.

“It is unfortunate in this day and age that we still have such unscrupulous elements within our traditional leadership and government structures who effectively violate social rights of citizens and are conduits of corruption,” she said.

National Association of Nongovernmental Organization (NANGO) eastern region coordinator Joseph Kauzani also chipped in saying complaints from community members should be taken seriously.

“There have been complaints from most people especially the informal sector members with regards to the safety nets/cushions. It seems as if some people received the Sim cards to receive the allowances but nothing was disbursed.

“To the fortunate few who received the funds, the amount was/is quite insignificant to meet the basic needs of the households headed by the Informal sector members.

“Secondly, why it is the disbursement of resources is always slow and not transparent. The state should meet its obligations to ensure that all social protection frameworks in place are protective, preventative, promotive and transformative,” he said.

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