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MP calls for overhaul of food relief programme

Nkulumane Constituency Member of Parliament (MP), Kucaca Phulu, says there is need to overhaul the food relief distribution system as most of the intended beneficiaries are being left out.

The government through the Ministry of Public Services, Labour and Social Welfare distributes food to vulnerable citizens in both urban and rural areas.

According to the latest Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) report, Zimbabwe’s government needs about US$218 million to stave off hunger that could affect 5.5 million people in the country.

Addressing residents at a feedback meeting in Nkulumane on Saturday, Hon Phulu said he had discovered that most people who were receiving food aid did not meet the criteria.  

“I have had time to observe the distribution of grain and I noticed that they are still using the old list containing names of people who have long moved to some areas.

“At the ward level though we have set up a committee that will focus on nonpartisan distribution of grain as they are the ones who are going to engage the department of social welfare on how the ward would love to have maize distributed in the area,” said Phulu.

He also urged the government to increase the allocation of grain given to Bulawayo.  

“I once engaged Minister of Finance during the supplementary budget to say the grain allocated for Bulawayo is small, they distributed 10 000 tonnes I think and I told him it was not enough.

“The issue is that they are distributing more grain to rural areas, which is fine because they are also facing poverty challenges but even in urban areas people are no longer employed thus they need more grain,” he said.

Phulu also implored the government to ensure food relief is distributed equitably to ensure that all vulnerable members benefit.

“Though it is small there is a need to manage the grain very well and give preference to the vulnerable in communities.

“When we engage even in Parliament they always tell us that the policy says we must just go and distribute but the problem is not the policy, the problem is the way the policy is implemented,” he said.

Phulu also encouraged residents to avoid discriminating each other based on political affiliation.

“I would like to also urge resident to also avoid discriminating each other according to political affiliation when it comes to food distribution, parties are just vehicles we use as we exercise our freedom of expression,” he said.

“Political parties should not mean anything more than that, if we are in different parties it does not mean to say you are no longer my brother, we must remain united as a constituency and as a country for development.”

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