Monday, June 09, 2008

No havest, no NGO food either...

from the UKTelegraph

Hours after Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe told foreign charities to stop distributing food, the United States warned that Zimbabwe faced its worst ever harvest.

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network, an American government agency, said the crop of maize - the country's main staple - was the smallest on record, 60 per cent lower than normal.....

"Unless imports and international assistance are made available, households in urban areas and the more deficit rural districts in the south and west will face severe food access problems beginning in June," said the network....

June should be the height of the harvest, but this winter it is a time of despair. In urban areas no maize meal is available in supermarkets.

Well-placed political sources say Mr Mugabe's decision to bar foreign aid agencies was taken to help him fight the June 27 presidential election run-off against Morgan Tsvangirai, who leads the Movement for Democratic Change.

Political donors have given Mr Mugabe's party the Zanu PF maize to splurge on voters in the run up to the poll as a crude form of bribery.

"There will be masses of food in the next three weeks and for the month after the election which will be distributed by the Zanu PF government," said a former government member.

"They don't want the aid agencies doing it. They want to be the benefactors."...

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