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There will be relief for drought-stricken Chivi villagers as the first batch of subsidised maize amounting to 50 000 tonnes arrives this week and is distributed to various centres for easy access.

The district was last season affected by a prolonged mid-season drought which wiped out most crops, leaving the villagers in Chivi facing starvation. Chivi Rural District Council chairperson Councillor Killer Zivhu said yesterday sourcing of more maize for the district was an ongoing exercise given the magnitude of the drought.

Clr Zivhu said they welcomed food donations in the district, but would not tolerate those pushing political agendas through food relief.

He said individuals intending to sell maize in the district would not be allowed to first collect money from villagers as this led to fraud.

“We have set up reception centres throughout the district where villagers will be able to access the maize,” said Clr Zivhu.

“Previously, councillors and Members of Parliament would collect money from the villagers before the maize was made avail- able.

“This time we have stopped that habit since in most cases the villagers never received the food and their money was never reimbursed. We are saying that people must buy the maize directly to avoid losing their money.

“We will not tolerate unscrupulous people who come to the district and take aantage of the villagers. People must know that food is apolitical and we do not entertain those who play politics with the hungry villagers.”

The maize had been expected in the district today, but the villagers appealed for more time to source funds, and will now expect the grain by the end of this week.

“The truth of the matter is that almost all villagers in the district did not harvest anything,” said Clr Zivhu. “We have a mammoth task before us to ensure that no one starves. President Mugabe has always said that no one should die of hunger in Zimbabwe and we will do our part in the district to ensure that all people are fed.”

Clr Zivhu said more maize would be distributed for free to the disaantaged in the district who include orphans and the elderly.

Chiefs in Chivi recently pleaded for urgent availability of food to ensure that no one starved, resulting in the council undertaking a massive food mobilisation programme.

Source : The Herald