By Albert Nxumalo
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has been accused of plunging the country back into the 2008 economic malaise as basic commodities are now in short supply and beyond the reach of many.
For the first time in more than a decade, Zimbabwe has begun a feeding programme to the urban poor, an illustration of the extent of food shortages and the effects of drought in the country.
On Tuesday, opposition MDC Youth Assembly National spokesperson Stephen Chuma claimed that government was “bent on making sure we starve to death in queues”.
“This is where we are Zimbabwe! Our staple food has become an expensive luxury beyond the reach of the ordinary! ” he said in a statement.
On December 5, Finance and Economic Development Minister, Mthuli Ncube, announced a new subsidy on maize meal that pegged the retail price of a 10kg bag of roller meal at ZWL$50 down from between ZWL$95 and ZWL$105.
However, the commodity is still in short supply in shops but readily available in the black market at inflated prices.
Added Chuma, “It is very clear that this economic malaise is born from direct leadership failure by the highest political office whose occupant is an election thief albeit through captured courts. Emmerson Mnangagwa is now the number one enemy of the state bent on making sure we starve to death in queues.
“It’s either we starve to death in queues for basic commodities or remove the source of fire”.
Last week, Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) said mealie meal shortages will ease from this week as the private sector has come up with an initiative to compliment the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and ensure food security.
Zimbabwe is experiencing a devastating drought after receiving less than average rainfall in the 2018-2019 farming season, leaving an estimated 5.5 million rural and 2.2 million urban people vulnerable and food insecure.
Continued drought is predicted in the 2019-2020 season because of the delayed onset of rains.
However, a few years ago authorities introduced a multi-million dollar command agriculture, a government-led scheme aimed at increasing food stability and boost grain reserves.
However, the programme is characterised by allegations of corruption, which the government does not seem too keen to investigate.
While facing a severe deficit of foreign exchange that is hindering its ability to ensure adequate supplies of power, fuel and food, Finance Minister Ncube says the government is making the necessary arrangements for enough grain imports.