in Stories

Government stops food aid to Insiza

The World Food Programme suspended food distributions in Insiza district a week before a parliamentary by-election after ZANU-PF youths seized three tonnes and began distributing it themselves.

ZANU-PF accused the WFP of being partisan with Information Minister Jonathan Moyo saying the organisation was being used to further British political interests.

“While we appreciate assistance from well-meaning quarters, whether from WFP or anyone else,” Moyo said, “we are not going to allow it to compromise our sovereignty.”

 

Full cable;

 

Viewing cable 02HARARE2311, INTERNATIONAL FOOD AID SEIZURE

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

02HARARE2311

2002-10-21 12:23

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HARARE 002311

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR CGURNEY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

PARIS FOR NEARY

ROME FOR FODAG

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: EAID PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: INTERNATIONAL FOOD AID SEIZURE

 

 

1. (U) SUMMARY. The seizure on Thursday, October 17 of 3

metric tons of food by ZANU-PF activists in Insiza was the

first documented incident of international food aid theft and

partisan redistribution. The Government has denied the

allegations and tried to divert attention from ZANU-PF food

aid theft to British involvement in food distribution. END

SUMMARY.

 

2. (SBU) On Friday, October 18, the World Food Program

indefinitely suspended food distributions in Insiza district,

Matebeleland South, where a parliamentary by-election is

scheduled to take place October 26-67. ZANU-PF activists

seized 3 metric tons of food from WFP,s implementing

partner, Organization of Rural Associations for Progress

(ORAP), on Thursday October 17 and began distributing it in

an unauthorized manner. A relatively small portion of the

food seized was U.S.-donated cooking oil. (NOTE: Mrs.

Sithembiso Nyoni, who is now Minister of Small and Medium

Enterprise Development, founded ORAP in 1981. Both political

parties have accused ORAP of being partisan in its relief

activities but checks by us and WFP have shown ORAP to be

diligently implementing WFP distribution guidelines. END

NOTE) Explaining WFP’s decision to suspend operations in

Insiza, WFP country director Kevin Farrell told journalists

that WFP will only distribute its food on the basis of need

without regard to political affiliation. He said WFP is

seeking assurances from the Government of Zimbabwe (GOZ) that

such incidents will not take place again.

 

3. (U) ZANU-PF dismissed the report as false and tried to

paint WFP as not being nonpartisan. In the government

controlled newspaper, The Herald, Jonathan Moyo, Minister of

State for Information and Publicity insisted that the WFP was

being used t further British political interests in Insiza

and challenged the WFP to assure the country that the British

are not directing it. “While we appreciate assistance from

well-meaning quarters, whether from WFP or anyone else,” Moyo

said, “we are not going to allow it to compromise our

sovereignty.” The state media, controlled by Moyo, also

claimed implausibly that ORAP was controlled by MDC activists

bent on distributing food in a partisan manner.

 

4. (U) The raid on the food distribution depot occurred the

day after Jonathan Moyo told journalists that the British

High Commissioner was ordering all NGOs to distribute food to

MDC supporters ahead of the Insiza by-election but the same

day the story appeared in the state-run newspaper. Moyo

reiterated that the British High Commissioner should desist

from meddling in Zimbabwe internal affairs. The British High

Commission issued a statement on October 17 denying these

allegations.

 

5. (SBU) The GOZ is appropriately concerned about the WFP

food suspension and public statements. WFP Director Kevin

Farrell and Minister of Social Welfare July Moyo will travel

to Insiza October 21 to address the issues.

 

6. (U) ACTION: Post recommends State issue a statement

expressing outrage and concern about the seizure and partisan

use of international food aid and we plan to issue a

statement in Harare as well. We are sending proposed

language to the Department separately. We are also urging

WFP to insist on return of the food, although we do not

recommend making this point public as yet.

SULLIVAN

(26 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHAREShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Write a Comment

Comment