Zimbabwe: CAFOD food consignment blocked

 A consignment of 1,000 tonnes of maize sourced by CAFOD is lying idle in South Africa as the Zanu PF regime has prohibited the organisation from bringing it into the famine ravaged country, Euphracia Mahenga wrote in the Zimbabwe Standard yesterday. A church official who spoke to The Standard revealed that they had been told by government officials that they could not bring the maize until they registered as a welfare organisation. "CAFOD bought 1,000 metric tonnes of maize from South Africa for the Bulawayo Diocese. However, we have failed to bring the grain because the government has insisted on an import permit in order for the grain to be brought into the country," said the official. She added: "We applied for the permit to the ministry of lands, agriculture and rural resettlement a week-and-a-half ago but we were told to register with the social welfare department first, before applying for the permit. We have not been registered yet and as it stands, we don't know when the maize will be in the country." Mahenga writes: 'As paranoia spreads in the Zanu PF government, non governmental organisations and churches have been forbidden from bringing food into the country. Only two weeks ago, the World Food Programme pulled out of Insiza after seeing that the food was being distributed to people on the basis of political affiliation.' Some members of the public who spoke to The Standard said the Zanu PF government was insensitive to the plight of the people. "We expect government to be human enough not to impose stringent conditions on people who want to bring in food. This is a national crisis and almost everyone who has got the potential to import maize should do so," said Munoda Tafirei of Chitungwiza. Thomas Chuma of Tafara said that the government seemed to be interested more in impounding maize than ensuring that more food is brought into the country. "There are quite a number of cases where GMB is said to have impounded maize belonging to certain individuals. Our government should be more focused on the importation of food and not be a stumbling block by imposing unreasonable importing restrictions," he said. Last month the ministry of public service, labour and social welfare instructed all NGOs not registered under the ministry to do so in terms of Section 9 of the Private Voluntary Organisation Act. Source: Zimbabwe Standard

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