Community members in Zaka have denounced hijacking of food aid by political activists and party chairpersons as one of the catalysts for most conflicts in the district. Speaking during Conflict Analysis and Resilient Analysis meetings organised by communities working Heal Zimbabwe, participants highlighted that chairpersons and political party activists from ZANU PF have on several occasions hijacked food aid distribution meetings.
More recently, a Zaka Ward 19 Councillor, Peter Imbayarwo and Agriculture Extension Officers had a food aid and agricultural input distribution exercise hijacked by the ward chairperson who was working in cahoots with other party activists.
"We do not get food aid from government in this ward as party chairperson and political activists cherry pick beneficiaries .This has created a lot of tensions in the ward and if this issue is not addressed, distribution meeting will turn violent", said one participant.
Participants also reported that party chairpersons also give directives to village heads to compile names of beneficiaries and this has greatly weakened the traditional leadership institution. Other issues raised during the meeting include the interference of legislators in the smooth running of Provincial Councils. Participants noted that this was an attempt to retain central government control over the key role played by Rural District Councils in the implementation of devolution that is explicitly provided for in Section 264 of the constitution.
The meetings by Heal Zimbabwe are part of efforts to empower local communities to help safeguard against human rights abuse and also help build peaceful communities. Heal Zimbabwe utilizes various strategies to address conflicts in local communities. One of these ways is the use of community dialogues, an initiative for communities to discuss and collectively identify ways through which they can proffer solutions to problems in their communities. The platforms also equip communities with relevant information on Covid 19, Gender Based Violence (GBV) and human rights. Such platforms also facilitate local level conversations on pertinent issues affecting communities as well as create socially cohesive communities.
Source: Heal Zimbabwe