Residents decry skewed distribution of food aid

Thorngrove residents in Bulawayo have decried the unfair food distribution practices by the government which have resulted in some elderly and marginalised residents failing to benefit the programme.

The residents said their community is small and as such, they had devised a way to fairly distribute food amongst themselves giving preference to the most vulnerable.

The issue was raised during a stakeholders meeting held at Thorngrove Community Hall by Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ).

The resident’s association chairperson Charles Ncube said the system of food distribution they had set was interrupted by social welfare officials who insisted on their way of doing things. 

Ncube explained that the registration forms which are used for the food distribution program create loopholes for corruption as they only require the names and national identification numbers of the beneficiaries.

“The problem with those forms is they do not require addresses. Our ward has mostly elderly citizens and if we do not control how the food is distributed some may never benefit from this program. The amount of maize sacks we are receiving at the moment is not enough for everyone hence we resolved that at least two households share a sack. 

“The problem we face is since the forms do not make use of addresses and that social welfare people distribute according to age, you find that people who are supposed to share end up getting a sack each resulting in other people going without any maize at all,” said Ncube.

The residents lamented that the system of prioritising age side lines child-headed families who have no source of income. They said due to age limits all the maize gets distributed to the elderly leaving them succumbing to hunger.

Nikiwe Ncube-Tshabalala, a lawyer advised the residents to engage the Ward Councillor so he may explain to them how food distribution is supposed to be done and also deliberate on how best to curb the corrupt tendencies.

Hope Sendamai, a representative from Bulawayo South constituency urged the residents to appoint a community representative who will work closely with the members of the social welfare who distribute food. 

Sendamai said this would enable residents to have an account of the amount of maize entitled to them and monitor if they receive all of it in the right quantities. 

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