Villagers raise red flag over “corrupt” food distribution in Matshetsheni area

By Paul Mzizi

Angry villagers in Matshetsheni area, Ward 4, under Chief Mbiko Masuku in Gwanda North have expressed anger over what they have termed “corrupt distribution of food aid” in their area during the Covid 19 lockdown.

The villagers told CITE in separate interviews that they have long since observed the rot in their area and expressed worry that nothing was being done to correct the situation.

They asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals.

“What is happening in our area is a serious cause for concern,” said one male villager.

“We have seen that time and again, whenever food aid is to be distributed, it is the same people who benefit. Now, there is the Corona virus and we all need help.The poor are always left out. There are a lot of struggling villagers here but their names are never taken down. We suspect that there is some corruption at play between our kraal heads and the ward secretary,” he said.

He said whenever anybody tries to raise the issue during ward meetings, they are told to “shut up”.

Another elderly villager and pensioner said she had never been given a chance to be on any programme that benefits the elderly.

“I am now 80 years old. When I tried to find out if there was no programme where I could also benefit, I was told that I earn a pension but much to my surprise, there are other pensioners like me who receive food aid. I wonder where they think we will get the food during Covid 19. Our traditional leaders practice corruption and nepotism,” she said.

Mahlokohloko village headman, Elliot Sibanda however defended traditional leaders in the area and shot down allegations of corruption.

“It is not true that traditional leaders are corrupt,” said Sibanda.

“Whenever a new donor comes to our area, convene a meeting and suggest names of worthy beneficiaries. The process is long and there are a lot of arguments that ensue. Those who accuse us of corruption are only bent on tarnishing the image of traditional leaders in our area,” he said.

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