Graft, politics mar lockdown food distribution

World Food Programme Zimbabwe, file photo

World Food Programme Zimbabwe, file photo

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) THE elderly, child-headed families, pregnant women and those with disabilities have reportedly been denied food aid following the partisan distribution and corruption on the allocation of aid during lockdowns.

Angola, South Africa and Zimbabwe are among the culprits in the corrupt distribution of the food aid.

Human rights groups lamented that in most cases, people were denied food because of their affiliation to opposition parties.

In Angola, reports of partisan distribution of food aid emerged after the government announced relief measures to cover businesses, informal sector workers, and families affected by the current lockdown regimes.

There has been a lack of transparency.

In Zimbabwe, the partisan distribution of food aid has affected most vulnerable groups.

Reports of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition being denied aid are widespread.

Food denial to critics has been a prevalent tactic in Zimbabwe’s history.

More than 7 million people – half the population – are food insecure.

Food distribution has also been controversial in South Africa, which at over 7 800 cases and over 150 deaths, it is most affected by the coronavirus in Africa.

Some ruling African National Congress (ANC) councillors have been implicated in looting food parcels for the poor. Incidents of corruption and food looting were reported in eight provinces.

This has sparked protests in the poverty-stricken Alexandra township north of Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International regional director, said the coronavirus had worsened corruption and inequality.

“At this desperate time, no one should be denied food because of their political affiliation. Politicians must rise above their political motives and ambitions and ensure that everyone has food,” Muchena said.

– CAJ News

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