The Sunday Mail
Lincoln Towindo in Chikomba
Government will decisively deal with irresponsible individuals who abuse or distribute aid along partisan lines, Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga has said.
The Vice President said this yesterday to scores of villagers at Masasa Primary School in Chikomba at the handover of food aid to affected communities in Mashonaland East.
Cde Chiwenga also said the President and Head of State, Cde Mnangagwa will this week lead a delegation of all political parties participating in the ongoing national dialogue to Chimanimani to assess the damage caused by Cyclone Idai.
He said President Mnangagwa will tour all the four provinces — Manicaland, Mashonaland East, Masvingo and parts of the Midlands — that were affected.
“Next week, all the parties that are participating in the national dialogue agreed to accompany the President and visit Chimanimani in order to assess and try to assist with solutions to the tragedy that devastated that area.
“Those who refuse to participate in the dialogue will show that they do not care about the people of Zimbabwe.
“This is why you should ask them when they come here looking for votes where they were when disaster was on your door,” he said.
VP Chiwenga said there was urgent need to provide aid to affected families, especially those in the worst affected areas, as their burden had been compounded by the drought-plagued 2018/2019 agricultural season.
“When aid is being distributed, we plead with all Government workers, councillors and all those involved in the distribution not to steal any of the donations, but to take them to the appropriate beneficiaries,” said VP Chiwenga.
“The donations must reach the most affected areas.
“Our bad situation has been compounded by the drought, but we want to assure you that no one will die of hunger.
“All households will be given aid coming from Government.
“But when this aid is being distributed, we do not want you to look at the beneficiaries’ totem or political affiliation, we want it to be given to every Zimbabwean.”
The Vice President said after assessing the extent of devastation and quantum of resources needed to repair the damaged infrastructure, Government will devise a plan of action to start the rehabilitation works.
“The President has committed to visiting all those areas, including coming here, to assess the devastation and see how we can coordinate and assist those affected, as well as see how we can start rebuilding our infrastructure that was damaged.
“Already, Government has set aside $90 million to deal with this.”
Zanu-PF, the governing party, also agreed at its 111th ordinary session of the Central Committee meeting on Friday that each member of the organ should make a contribution towards relief of the affected communities, said the VP.
He said each member of the Politburo was directed to make a minimum donation of $200 towards a fund to help the affected communities.
He thanked local corporates, religious organisations, individuals and NGOs that have contributed towards relief efforts.
VP Chiwenga acknowledged the enormous task ahead to help rebuild communities and provide long-term safety nets for victims.
Earlier, the Vice President had visited Murove Bridge, which was damaged by flooding. In Ward 17, Chikomba district, the VP visited a family whose house was damaged by strong winds and flooding and pledged to rebuild the house.
The family of five — a blind mother and three children who are also all blind — lost most its belongings to the cyclone.
He said the family will be first to live in a house constructed under the new rural housing model being crafted.
Minister of State for Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs Apollonia Munzverengwi told the same gathering earlier that 624 houses were destroyed, while 21 tobacco barns, nine toilets and five schools were damaged in the province.
Over 700 kilometres of roads and nine bridges also bore the brunt of the cyclone-induced torrential rains.
Cyclone Idai also claimed the life of an 83-year-old man, while two cattle died after drinking contaminated water.