New Zimbabwe (London)

4 April 2014

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai Barred From Visiting Tokwe-Mukosi Victims

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's government has blocked opposition MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai from visiting the Tokwe-Mukosi flood victims who are being accommodated at Chingwizi holding camp by government.

Tsvangirai's spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said in a statement Friday the former Prime Minister had intended to go and "interact" with the victims.

"Government has barred the MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai from visiting the flood victims of Tokwe Mukosi at their holding camp at Chingwizi in Masvingo," said Tamborinyoka.

"President Tsvangirai was due to visit Chingwizi holding camp this week to interact with the people and to give some assistance to the victims of the humanitarian crisis. But the Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti told the MDC leader's emissaries that President Tsvangirai would not be allowed to interact with the people at Chingwizi.

"Bhasikiti said if the MDC leader had anything to give the people; he ought to leave it at the government's provincial offices in Masvingo where it would be taken to Triangle and then distributed to the beneficiaries."

Tamborinyoka said it was within the rights of the country's former premier to visit the victims of a crisis.

"It is shocking that a whole government would bar the former Prime Minister of the country and the leader of a party in Parliament from seeing for himself the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis and interacting with the victims. As a party, Zanu PF is so used to partisan distribution of food that they may want to misrepresent all assistance to the unfortunate victims as coming from Zanu PF," he said.

"There is absolutely no reason why President Tsvangirai would be barred from visiting and interacting with the people at Chingwizi unless the government's provincial leadership wants to politicize this unfortunate humanitarian crisis and peddle all assistance as coming from Zanu PF. It is patently criminal to take advantage of a national disaster for political capital.

"For President Tsvangirai, however, human life is more important than politics. He will be taking his assistance, including food and blankets, to the provincial office because this is a humanitarian crisis demanding our attention as Zimbabweans, regardless of our political affiliation."

Over 3000 families that were living in the flood prone Tokwe-Mukosi dam basin lost homes, crops and property when the incessant rainfall in Masvingo's Chivi area caused the partial collapse of the dam's wall, causing flooding.

President Mugabe has been criticised for splashing $1 million on his 90th birthday bash during the same time disaster struck at Tokwe-Mukosi.

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