Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Food distribution across the country is apolitical and Government has instituted investigations to verify allegations of partisan distribution raised by the Zimbabwe Human Rights commission, Parliament has heard.Public Service Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira on Wednesday said she was surprised that a confidential letter addressed to her by the ZHRC had fallen into the hands of third parties, including members of the opposition.
Minister Mupfumira said this in the National Assembly while responding to questions from backbenchers during a question and answer session.
Mutasa Central MP Mr Trevor Saruwaka (MDC-T) had asked Minister Mupfumira if she was aware that ZHRC had raised allegations of partisan food distribution in some areas like Buhera.
Minister Mupfumira said it was strange that a letter that was written to her in confidence was being referred to by members of the opposition party.
“A letter was written by ZHRC and it listed isolated incidences in areas like Mazowe, Bikita and Buhera.
“We are investigating the incidence(s) because my ministry was not involved in making that report.
“My ministry officials and ZHRC have gone to the areas. It is not Government policy and we have said we will investigate and if anybody is found on the wrong side of the law we will take action,” said Minister Mupfumira.
She said the food distribution was going on well as there were 320 000 tonnes of maize and 90 000 of rice.
Minister Mupfumira denied that drought relief was being distributed on partisan basis.
“You have brought to this House a false accusation. As Government, we are responsible for the welfare of all Zimbabweans regardless of political affiliation,” said Minister Mupfumira.
After a barrage of questions on food distribution, the Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda asked Minister Mupfumira to prepare a comprehensive report to update Parliament on the situation including the criteria used for one to qualify.
Responding to another question, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made said that people who have identified foreign markets for beef are free to apply for licences to export the product.
Shamva South MP Cde Joseph Mapiki (zanu-pf) had asked Minister Made on what Government was doing to allow the export of beef.
“I want to indicate that Cold Storage Company is dealing with a turnaround strategy. Anyone with a market to export to, is free to do so. Anyone with an opportunity to export can simply apply,” said Minister Made.