Zimbabwe’s President Vows to End Hunger Amid Drought

Zimbabwe News and Analysis

by Motoni Olodun

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has vowed to ensure that no one in the country dies of hunger, as he launched a food distribution program to assist millions of people facing starvation due to drought and sanctions.

Mnangagwa, who was speaking at a ceremony in Matabeleland South province on Tuesday, said his government had secured enough grain from local and foreign sources to feed the population until the next harvest season. He said the program, which is being implemented in collaboration with the World Food Program (WFP) and other partners, would target the most vulnerable groups, such as children, women, and the elderly.

“We are here to launch the presidential food distribution program, which is part of our broader strategy to ensure food security and nutrition for all our people,” Mnangagwa said. “We have made arrangements to import enough maize and wheat to meet our national requirements. We have also mobilized resources to support our farmers to increase their productivity and resilience.”

He added that his administration was working hard to revive the economy and lift the sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union, which he blamed for worsening the humanitarian situation in the country. He said the sanctions, which were imposed in the early 2000s over alleged human rights violations and electoral fraud, had crippled the country’s ability to access credit and foreign currency, and had hampered its development and recovery.

“We are facing a twin challenge of drought and sanctions, which have negatively affected our people’s livelihoods and well-being,” Mnangagwa said. “We are appealing to the international community to remove these illegal and unjustified sanctions, which are hurting our people and undermining our efforts to achieve sustainable development.”

Zimbabwe is experiencing its worst drought in four decades, which has reduced crop yields and water availability, and has left more than half of its 14 million people in need of food aid, according to the WFP. The UN agency said it was scaling up its operations in the country to reach 4.1 million people by April 2024, but warned that it faced a funding shortfall of $204 million.

The WFP’s country director, Francesca Erdelmann, who attended the ceremony, commended Mnangagwa for his leadership and commitment to end hunger in Zimbabwe. She said the WFP was ready to support the government and the people in their efforts to overcome the challenges and build a better future.

“We are grateful to the president and the government for their partnership and cooperation in addressing the food and nutrition needs of the Zimbabwean people,” Erdelmann said. “We are also thankful to our donors and partners for their generous contributions and solidarity. Together, we can make a difference and save lives.”

Zimbabwe, once known as the breadbasket of southern Africa, has suffered from chronic food insecurity and economic decline for decades, due to political instability, corruption, mismanagement, and climate change. Mnangagwa, who succeeded Robert Mugabe in 2017, has pledged to reform the country and restore its prosperity, but has faced criticism and resistance from the opposition and civil society, who accuse him of failing to deliver on his promises and of violating human rights and democracy.

Despite the difficulties, some experts say there is still hope for Zimbabwe to achieve food security and economic growth, if the government implements sound policies and reforms, and if the international community provides adequate and timely support and assistance. They also say that the country has the potential and the resources to harness its agricultural sector and its natural wealth, and to improve the living standards and well-being of its people.


Source: The Herald

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