Corruption derails food aid in Zimbabwe

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A former US diplomat in Harare has accused top government officials in Zimbabwe as well as members of the ruling Zanu PF party, in power since independence in 1980 of massive corruption that is likely going to adversely affect donor aid.

Harry Thomas, the former US ambassador to Zimbabwe told the US PBS television station that the officials in Harare were inflating the prices of donor aid to line their pockets at will.

He said this would scare away potential donors who are prepared to assist Zimbabwe’s seven million people who are in dire need of food grain.

The staple food in Zimbabwe is maize and the government is importing both maize and wheat to meet local demand.

Thomas said donors especially the US should hold the Zimbabwean government officials accountable to the massive corruption.

Thomas said,” Zimbabwe has imported wheat from Tanzania. The world price is about US$250 per tonne but the big boys in Harare are charging US$600 per tonne- so they have doubled the price by inflation.

The rich well-connected people by the wheat and resell it and line their pockets.”

Thomas raised concern over the looting of mineral resources in Zimbabwe by the well connected Zanu Pf and government officials yet the government gives a blind eye to the corruption.

Thomas said this kind of corruption has an adverse effect for ordinary Zimbabweans who are failing to send their kids to school and find it difficult to put food on their tables.

He said because of gross corruption and mismanagement for years by the government, many people were suffering and life is tough.

He said the government officials are only interested in power and accumulating money at whatever cost.

However, a government source in Harare said Harare does not import wheat from Tanzania but has been importing maize, the staple food.

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