Zimbabwe which has been under sanctions for almost two decades largely because of its land reform programme, which some still insist has been unsuccessful, now has enough maize to last the country for two years even if there are no rains.
This was said in Parliament yesterday by the Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Lovemore Matuke when he was asked whether the country would be able to feed its people now that more people might need food.
Matuke said not only did the country have enough food but President Emmerson Mnangagwa had said food should also be provided to people in the urban areas who need it.
Urban areas are the stronghold of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
Q & A
*HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare – [AN HON. MEMBER: He is not here.] – In her absence, to the Leader of the House.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. The Deputy Minister is here.
*HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare. Looking at the current situation in our country, do we have adequate food for the nation? This is because people were getting a 50kg each but they were very few, now that many people are lacking food, at what percentage are you going to add to the current feeding programme? As Members of Parliament, people are grieving because of lack of food day in day out. We were only able to give out what we had but it is now dry. I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. MATUKE): Thank you Mr. Speaker. I want to thank Cde. Matangira for the question – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Paradza, order. In terms of our Standing Orders, you address the Hon. Members as Hon. Members, no Comrades here.
*HON. MATUKE: Alright. I want to thank Hon. Matangira for the pertinent question which touches on the nation of Zimbabwe which is faced with a drought ahead of us because of lack of rainfall. What I want to tell Cde. Matangira – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – What I want to tell Hon. Matangira…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order. Hon. Deputy Minister, can you stick to the rules.
*HON. MATUKE: A slip of the tongue Hon. Speaker and I am sorry about that. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. What I want to tell Hon. Matangira is that the Government respects the people when it comes to hunger. So, we expect that the maize silos that we have in the country is adequate enough to the extent that even if we do not receive rains, we will be able to sustain ourselves for the next two years – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – So, there is a Committee which is tasked to assess on those who will have been reported to be facing hunger and register them. It is the Government’s duty to ensure that people do not perish for lack of food. So, as a Ministry, when we finish our assessment on the level of hunger facing the people, we will be bidding for maize from the Government, adequate enough to feed those who will be faced with lack of food. So, we want you to know that we have a team which is moving around rural areas.
In addition, I also want to inform this august House that the President of Zimbabwe, Hon. Mnangagwa said that maize should not be distributed only in rural areas but also in the cities because thy are equally faced with hunger – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – So, the maize will be distributed to the people adequately.
*HON. MAJAYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Hon. Minister, can you tell us the composition of this Committee because in the past, most of the food was being abused by Members of ZANU PF.
*HON. MATUKE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The committee that looks into the people that require feeding is apolitical, it is a Government committee at district level and involves several ministries as well as non-governmental organisations. They go to assess the victims together with the councillors and come up with the list of beneficiaries in need. Once politics comes into play and others are not receiving food, please bring that quickly to our attention as the Ministry because the President said everyone has a right to eat food when we are faced with a drought situation.