Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Traditional leaders are the real sellouts.

THE guilty, it is said, are always afraid. The government this month proved it had something to hide when it blocked a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation team from conducting a joint crop assessment exercise throughout the country.

While the government raised the argument that it was a sovereign State and would therefore not countenance multi-lateral organisations undertaking crop assessment surveys, what really frightened the government was confirmation of the extent of the food shortages despite a good rainfall season and the government's claims of a bumper harvest.

The truth is that the failure of its much heralded land reform programme would have been unmasked. Whenever the government finds itself in a corner it throws tantrums in the hope that such theatrics will shut up its critics. But that will not stop the food deficits and that is why it is spending scarce foreign currency on food imports.

What the response to the FAO proposal confirms is that Zimbabwe is being run by a desperate cabal - a clique intent on clinging to power by any means necessary.

What we don't need amidst this are traditional leaders trying to mislead the nation.

In an apparent response intended to buttress the government's rebuff of the UN agency, the Zimbabwe Council of Chiefs declared that "most parts of the country produced better yields than in previous seasons owing to good rainsâ-oe"

The statement was as vague as it was shallow on statistical breakdown of district/provincial yields to shore up the claim of "good harvests".

Traditional leaders were reviled by the generality of the people before independence because of their willingness to be used against their own subjects by settler administrations.

Their action last week proved once again that they had mortgaged their fate to that of the government because of the perks they are being feted with at the expense of roads and health facilities stocked with drugs for use by rural people.....

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