Human Rights Monitors (HRMs) trained by Heal Zimbabwe from Masvingo province have highlighted that continued partisan distribution of government aid during the COVID 19 is threatening the prevalence of social cohesion.
During weekly reports to Heal Zimbabwe, the HRMs reported that since the beginning of the lockdown in January 2021, there has been an increase in cases of partisan distribution of government aid by unscrupulous local leaders in Masvingo Province. “We have seen even deserving beneficiaries of government aid being sidelined during the lockdown. During such desperate times where there are limited economic activities, we have seen Councillors and Traditional leaders denying government aid (mostly from the Department of Social Welfare) to deserving beneficiaries. This has in turn eroded our confidence in our leaders and created serious conflicts here”, said one HRM from Chivi.
In Gutu (Ward 6), on the 15 th of February 2021, Councillor Wenceslaus Madhai and Youth Officer Patrick Marimazhira distributed fertilizers under the Pfumvudza Agricultural Inputs Scheme in a partisan manner, regardless of the fact that during the previous distribution, the two had indicated that those who could not benefit from that distribution were going to be prioritized on the 15th of February. This resulted in chaos, with people engaging in physical violence and grabbing the remaining fertilizers. In Chivi South ward 25, on the 24th of February 2021 Councillor Jacob Magondo and ZANU PF Chairperson only identified as Chikanga distributed fertilizers in a partisan manner, prioritizing 28 members of the ZANU PF 2018 Election Campaigning Team. The distribution took place at Madzivire diptank. On the 18th of February, in Bikita Ward 12, Councillor Tedios Wafawarova and ZANU PF Official Nicolas Chivende distributed fertilizers under the Pfumvudza Agricultural Inputs Scheme in a partisan manner. Most of the people who benefitted were known ZANU PF supporters, and this resulted in people protesting against the councillor. The distribution took place at DDF Offices, at Nyika Growth Point. As a solution to the above challenges, HRMs operating in areas where the practice is rampant resolved to conduct physical dialogues with the relevant stakeholders. The proposed dialogue meetings will conform to COVID 19 regulations that restrict the number of participants to fifty people.
Heal Zimbabwe utilizes various strategies to address conflicts in local communities. One of these ways is the use of community dialogues, an initiative for communities to discuss and collectively identify ways through which they can proffer solutions to problems in their communities. The platforms also equip communities with relevant information on Covid 19, Gender Based Violence (GBV) and human rights. Such platforms also facilitate local level conversations on pertinent issues affecting communities as well as create socially cohesive communities.
Source: Heal Zimbabwe