Plans by Government to provide relief to an estimated 2,2 million urban dwellers in need of food aid has been welcomed by a cross-section of society as it shows commitment to alleviate poverty.
Government, in partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP) has already embarked on a pilot project to identify the most vulnerable in Epworth.
The pilot project will establish the parameters for identifying more beneficiaries.
USAid Enhancing Nutrition Stepping Up Resilience and Enterprise programme manager Mr Arthur Masuka said the plans were commendable.
“It is very commendable because urban poverty has been on the rise in Zimbabwe. About 38,2 percent of the urban dwellers are now living below the Total Consumption Poverty Line,” he said.
“Individual poverty prevalence has risen to 46,5 percent in urban areas due to the decline in formal employment. The food-insecure urban households have also increased to about 37 percent. So for me it’s a noble idea but the challenge would be how it is going to be implemented.”
Destiny for Africa Network founder Reverend Obadiah Msindo welcomed the move saying its showed President Mnangagwa’s democratic credentials.
“This shows that we have a democratic leader who is not partisan when it comes to governance,” he said.
“We see that President Mnangagwa is looking after the welfare of all Zimbabwean citizens, be it in rural or urban areas. The people should understand that given the necessary support President Mnangagwa is people-oriented.
“That is why he understood the problem facing the people and came in with this programme while he is also working on the long-term plan of reviving the economy,” Rev Msindo said.
Political analyst Mr Goodwine Mureriwa said the food aid programme was in sync with the ruling party’s ideology.
“The policy re-emphasises the socialist ideology that the ruling party is grounded in of putting people first,” Mr Mureriwa said.
“It shows that when it comes to the welfare of the people the President and the ruling party will not discriminate despite most urban areas being opposition strongholds.”
Harare Residents’ Trust director Mr Precious Shumba said the idea was appropriate given the rise in needy people in the urban areas.
“Providing food assistance to urban residents is a most welcome development,” he said.
Government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) held the workshop over the weekend that was attended by senior staffers in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and donor partners aimed at reviewing the social welfare strategy and refocus to maximise efficiency.