Zimbabwe

War vets, party supporters block relief food aid

Dozens of disabled people in Bikita south constituency face starvation after war veterans and suspected Zanu (PF) supporters blocked the distribution of relief food aid.

They accused most of the disabled people of being sympathetic to the MDC-T.

Truck-loads of relief food aid destined for Bikita south constituency were ordered to return back to Masvingo city after the former freedom fighters and suspected Zanu (PF) supporters threatened to burn the trucks and the food.

They have also unilaterally banned Non Governmental Organisations from operating in the area, claiming that they want to topple President Robert Mugabe and his party from power.

Chairman of the disabled people in the constituency, Isaac Chinyarike, said people were on the verge of starving to death after they were blocked from receiving the food.

“We normally get relief food aid from government through the department of social welfare because we are disabled, but that has since stopped because the government says it has no money,” said Chinyarike.

“We also used to get $10 per house hold as assistance from the state but the money has stopped since the beginning of the year,” he added.

“After this NGOs operating in this province came to our rescue after they sourced relief food for us. But to our surprise Zanu (PF) supporters threatened to burn the truck and the food accusing NGOs of assisting us,” said Chinyarike.

“We were labelled MDC-T supporters because we had threatened to demonstrate against the government over the suspension of our allowances and food aid,” said Chinyarike.

The relief food aid included cooking oil, beans, mealie-meal, salt and barley.

Chinyarike refused to name the NGOs that had brought food for them, fearing that the concerned NGOs would be victimised.

Bikita south war veterans’ leader, who only identified himself as Kugarikaishungu, confirmed to The Zimbabwean that they had blocked the distribution of relief food aid in the area.

He claimed that disabled people had mooted a demonstration against the government, hence they wanted to topple President Mugabe and Zanu (PF) from power.

He said they had banned all NGO s from operating in the area unless they channel their relief food aid through Zanu (PF) structures. “We ordered the vehicles to go back to Masvingo and if they had refused then we were going to burn the vehicles and the food,” said the war veteran’s leader.

“We have banned all NGO s from directly coming with relief food aid here because all the food aid has to come through Zanu (PF) structures, which are known to everyone here,” added Kugarikaishungu.

“It is no secret that these NGOs and some of the disabled people in this area who are puppets of the whites want to topple the present government,” he claimed.

Zanu (PF) Masvingo provincial chairman Paradzai Chakona said he was not aware of the incident. The Bikita south legislator, Zanu (PF)’s Jappy Jaboon, refused to comment on the incident.