Zimbabwe: Traditional Leaders Should Not Be Biased

press release

Zaka — Traditional leaders must not reflect bias in the distribution of food in the rural areas, President Morgan Tsvangirai has said.

President Tsvangirai who is also Zimbabwe's Prime Minister visited Zaka West Constituency as part of his Constituency Development Fund (CDF) tour programme where he addressed at least 1000 villagers at Chivamba Business Centre.

He called on traditional leaders to desist from reflecting bias in the food distribution process. He blasted local chiefs for denying food aid to perceived MDC supporters.

"The Grain Loan Scheme is not a prerogative of one political party and let me stress that traditional leaders should work with local councillors and AREX officials in the food distribution exercise. It is unfortunate to note that some chiefs are denying perceived MDC supporters access to food aid.

"We all know that hunger does not discriminate anyone along political party lines -whether one is Zanu PF or MDC. Let me clearly emphasize the fact that traditional leaders are not political commissars for a certain political party.

"There are reports that there are some chiefs who are presiding over the Grain Loan Scheme without consulting other stakeholders and that is uncalled for," said President Tsvangirai.

The Prime Minister said the government was committed to alleviating hunger in all the affected parts of the country adding that the Grain Loan Scheme was part of efforts to ensure food security in the country.

"The government is committed towards alleviating hunger. It is on record that this area has been affected by persistent shortage of food and we will ensure that everything is in place so that no one will starve. There must be properly constituted committees in the wards to ensure equitable distribution of food to the affected communities," said Prime Minister Tsvangirai.

He also denounced violence adding there was need for peaceful elections to ensure a smooth transitional process.

"We have always called for peace and we will always say no to violence. It is a fact that violence is detrimental to a conducive environment for democratic polls. We are therefore, calling for political tolerance because I meet with Mugabe regularly and we deliberate on fundamental issues.

"If leaders of political parties can meet and discuss issues on the same table why then should people fight at village level? There is no reason to fight your relatives and friends simply because of different political ideologies. There is need for political tolerance and maturity," said the premier.

Before addressing villagers at Chivamba Business Centre, Prime Minister Tsvangirai initially had a brief stopover at the Zaka Rural District Council offices at Jerera Growth Point where he addressed the local council leadership.

He then visited Mushungwa Primary School, Ward 24 where he was accompanied by local legislator, Honourable Festus Dumbu and senior provincial Party officials including provincial secretary, Honourable Tongai Matutu and provincial chairman, Wistaff Sitemere.

At Mushungwa Primary School one classroom blocked was refurbished under the CDF programme. The premier also toured Chipfuti Primary School in the same ward and Muchokwa Primary School in Ward 22 where one classroom block was renovated after its roof had been blown away by the wind.

President Tsvangirai also toured new and repaired boreholes in Ward 23 and the local legislator facilitated the sinking of at least ten new boreholes in the constituency. Provincial organising secretary Honourable Earnest Mudavanhu, vice secretary Honourable Heya Shoko and provincial youth chairman Honourable Oliver Chirume also accompanied the premier.

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