Matobo South MP Gabriel Ndebele told the Zimbabwe Independent last week that villagers in his constituency were left stranded after the maize disappeared from the state-owned Grain Marketing Board (GMB)’s Gwanda depot.
“Villagers are now asking where their allocation went to. They are still waiting for their share,” he said.
Banda donated 9 000 metric tonnes of maize to the drought- prone region when he visited the country to officiate at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair last year.
The maize came in batches with the last delivery being in February.
Ndebele said he only heard that the maize was at the GMB Gwanda depot and despite being legislator for the constituency he was not told when it would be distributed.
Ndebele said he planned to take the matter up with GMB officials.
Sources at GMB Gwanda this week said the bulk of the maize was grabbed by senior Zanu PF officials. They did not name the officials.
“Only a small proportion of the maize donated went to the rightful recipients. The bulk was taken by top Zanu PF members as vehicles with Zanu PF logos used to frequent the depot to get the maize,” said a source.
The source said each district was supposed to get an average of 10 tonnes of maize.
Zanu PF Matabeleland South chairman and legislator for Insiza Andrew Langa on Wednesday denied that party officials looted the maize.
“It’s not true. That maize was given to the Zimbabwe people from all political parties by the Zambian president,” Langa said. “Those (people) that came forward did benefit and got the maize. The talk that maybe Zanu PF officials or Zanu PF as a party could have taken the maize meant for Zimbabweans is very malicious. It’s is very bad for people to stick lies on Zanu PF.”
He admitted that villagers from his party had benefited from the maize, but said this was in line with correct procedures.
A report compiled by the Ministry of Agriculture after conducting a countrywide crop assessment earlier this year revealed that the country would suffer a deficit of 200 000 metric tonnes of cereal from the 2009/10 summer agriculture season.
The report said 11% of the 1 723 990 hectares planted this year had been completely damaged, especially in the southern and eastern provinces of the country, where the drought was severe.
Zimbabwe has faced constant food deficits since it embarked on a controversial land reform programme in 2000.