Desperate to buttress and sustain the unsustainable narrative of a crisis in Zimbabwe, the country’s detractors have latched onto the food deficit in some areas of the county following two consecutive drought seasons as evidence that the nation is facing a “crisis”.
An analysis of this, however, shows that nothing is further from the truth.
The detractors have quoted media reports such as the one written by a local Al Jazeera correspondent, Chris Muronzi and published on 28 November 2019, following a visit to Zimbabwe that month by the United Nations (UN) special rapporteur on the right to food, Hilal Elver.
While food security is very important for any nation and a top priority for any government, it does not necessarily mean that when a country is facing food shortages in some of its districts, and when a Government is working flat out to import food, then the situation is a crisis.
Zimbabwe has faced serious droughts in 1982 and 1992 but these situations did not result in the country being described as plagued by crises.
No one used the drought situations as excuses to push for the country to be placed on the African Union (AU) or the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) agendas, as is the case now.
It is clear that the ultimate aim of today’s crisis characterisation is to use the continental and global bodies to unconstitutionally push ZANU PF out of power and replace it with the opposition, which has been routinely rejected by the electorate for the past two decades.
Discussion on the food situation in Zimbabwe by the country’s detractors is, therefore, not a show of concern for the ordinary Zimbabwean’s welfare, but represents an attempt to exploit the vulnerable people in pursuit of regime change. It is about power and not the people.
It is interesting that when the country’s detractors talk of the so-called “crisis in Zimbabwe” referring to food security, they conveniently forget to compare how other countries in the region are faring. The fact that Zimbabwe has experienced consecutive droughts over the past two seasons is also conveniently forgotten .
According to the World Food Programme (WFP) End-of-Season Update for 2018/19 and Overview of the Food Security Situation in 2019/20 report for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, 5,5 million Zimbabweans are part of the 41 million people in need of food aid.
This is mainly because of back to back droughts experienced during the 2018/19 and the 2019/20 farming season owing to the effects of climate change.
The Zimbabwean Government expended a lot of money in funding agriculture during the two seasons under both the Command Agriculture (now Smart Agriculture) Programme for commercial farmers and the Presidential Input Scheme for communal farmers.
For example, Government set aside over $2,8 billion (about US$28 million) for the Command Agriculture programme for the production of 210 000 hectares of maize and 30 000 hectares of soyabeans during the 2019/20 summer cropping season. When the merchants of crisis talk of the prevailing national food deficit, it is as if Government did absolutely nothing about preparing for the summer seasons.
Despite Government’s best efforts to mobilise resources, the country still faced food deficits. The WFP report ascribed this to weather elements rather than poor governance as the country’s detractors would wish the world to believe.
The global food body said that “in 2018/19, the region experienced an unusual dichotomy of severe drought and flooding” which resulted in “wide-spread crop failure… in Zimbabwe, southern Zambia, northern Namibia and southern Botswana.”
The WFP indicated that “since the 2015/16 El Niño, the southern Africa region has only seen one favourable season (2016/17).”
The report indicated that Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Zambia accounted for 75 percent of the total number needing immediate assistance in the region yet only the situation of Zimbabwe is highlighted in isolation.
Food insecurity is a regional phenomenon that has afflicted not only Zimbabwe, but also Zambia, Mozambique, Eswatini and Lesotho, among others.
The situation is actually worse in some of the regional countries than it is in Zimbabwe yet there is undue and deliberate isolation of the country for obvious political designs.
The WFP report also revealed that the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Africa each had over 13 million people in need of food assistance, which is over half the regional total of 41 million people referred to earlier.
Notwithstanding this, the two countries are not being described as crisis situations.
If anything, some loud-mouths like former Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, Mmusi Maimane, have been at the forefront of unjustifiably criticising the Zimbabwean Government on baseless excuses such as a non-existent food security crisis. Maimane has obviously never bothered to check regional statistics on what countries are most affected by the food insecurity.
Instead of lapping up hook line and sinker, the crisis hogwash being peddled by the country’s detractors, such as the MDC Alliance vice president, Tendai Biti, it is time that Zimbabweans sought the truth.
It is time that citizens of this great country established the truth for themselves and refuse to be used to lend credence to pure lies deliberately woven to push an illegal regime change agenda.
It is time that Zimbabweans know that droughts are not only occurring in Zimbabwe and that drought-induced food deficits do not constitute a crisis.
It is time that people open their eyes and refuse to follow detractors’ vile habit of politicising everything unnecessarily in the name of fighting ZANU PF.
It is time that Zimbabweans knew that food deficits resulting from recurrent droughts are not a crisis and are not worth the AU and the UNSC’s attention.
Zimbabweans are an educated lot and should use their education to dissect for themselves the reality on the ground, not follow some misleading fabrications whose effect can only be to undermine their own God-given country.