- The purchase of 600,000 tons of maize by the Zimbabwean government has been received with sneers by the country’s main opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which calls it a stunt by the ruling ZANU-PF party to buy votes in the on-coming presidential election run-off.
Food shortages are rampant throughout the country and reports show that the ruling party has failed dismally to address the crisis, which in turn has aggravated the economic and political impasse the Southern African state is currently faced with.
According to US media reports, the opposition maintains that the purchased maize would only be handed out to members of the ruling party, while the rest of the nation would be left to starve with no hope in sight.
MDC international affairs secretary Eliphas Mukonoweshuro told the US government media 'Voice of America' yesterday that the government wanted to use the purchase of the maize as a political tool against opponents of the administration.
"It just demonstrates one thing, ZANU-PF has no clear policy to ameliorate the problems that are abundant in this country. Those tonnages of maize that have been bought are not intended to provide a long-term solution, but to simply win votes. They are going to go to ZANU-PF supporters instead of going to the nation and to the people in need. That surely, does not constitute a way forward to resolving the crisis in this country," Mr Mukonoweshuro said.
He is reported to have noted that ordinary Zimbabweans would not be fooled by what he described as the government's political gimmick.
"I don't believe that the people of Zimbabwe would be enticed by politics of this nature. They do not want to eat once; they want to eat for the rest of their lives. They want solutions that would guarantee that they would be able to fend for themselves as they have always done," he added.
He said the ruling ZANU-PF party was all fired up to utilise all available means to ensure that opposition lost in the up-coming presidential run-off.
Mr Mukonoweshuro made an appeal to the international community to ensure that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe honoured results in the on-coming election.
However, the government vehemently denied the finger pointing, indicating that the opposition only wanted to use the move to tarnish the government's image.
Zimbabwe's food shortage has become a major emergency, a famine-warning network recently made an alert that most people can no longer afford to buy food. According to USAid's Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), mealie meal is basically hard to get in Zimbabwe, except on the black-market.
The Mugabe regime since the 1980s has been accused of systematically using access to food as a political weapon. In the long political struggle between ZANU-PF and the MDC, potential voters for the ruling party during several electoral campaigns are reported to have been given food aid, which has been denied to potential opposition supporters.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.