Zanu PF’s Chiwenga in court for using his position to steal Mnangagwa’s Drought Relief Food Aid


Norton – The drought relief programme, a lifeline for many Zimbabweans struggling with the harsh realities of climate change, has become the subject of a fresh scandal, with two Zanu-PF activists facing theft charges for allegedly diverting food aid meant for desperate villagers in Nyabira.

The accused, Prosper Chiwenga and Phillimon Mudhombo, respectively the Zanu-PF district chairman and political commissar for Mashonaland West province, were dragged before the Norton Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, facing accusations of exploiting their positions to steal from the vulnerable.

The allegations are serious, painting a grim picture of corruption that has seeped into even the most critical humanitarian programmes. The pair allegedly manipulated the distribution of maize under the Presidential Drought Relief Programme, diverting 400 kilograms of grain for their personal use. This act, according to the prosecution, prejudiced the intended beneficiaries, with the total value of the stolen grain estimated at US$432.

The incident has sparked outrage among residents, who are already grappling with the devastating effects of the drought. “It is a betrayal of trust,” said a Nyabira villager who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals. “We were relying on this food aid to survive, and these people, who are supposed to be our leaders, are stealing from us.”

The case has also raised questions about the effectiveness of the Presidential Drought Relief Programme, which has been criticized for being riddled with inefficiencies and corruption.

“This is not an isolated incident,” said a human rights activist who has been monitoring the distribution of drought relief aid. “We have received numerous reports of corruption and abuse of power in the implementation of this programme.”

The activist highlighted the fact that the programme is often used by political parties to gain favour with voters, with distribution of aid often favouring those who are perceived to be loyal to the ruling party.

“The drought relief programme is supposed to be a humanitarian effort, but it has become a political tool,” the activist said. “This is a clear example of how the ruling party is using its power to exploit the vulnerable.”

The case against Chiwenga and Mudhombo is still in its early stages, with the pair expected back in court soon for a bail ruling. However, the mere fact that they have been charged has sent shockwaves through the political landscape.

The involvement of Chiwenga, a name synonymous with power and influence within the Zanu-PF hierarchy, adds a layer of complexity to the scandal. His alleged involvement, if proven, would be a major blow to the party’s credibility and could further erode public trust in the ruling party.

The incident has also raised questions about the role of the government in ensuring the integrity of the drought relief programme. Critics argue that the government has failed to implement adequate safeguards to prevent corruption and abuse of power, allowing the programme to be exploited by those who are supposed to be protecting the vulnerable.

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