Friday, 17 April 2020

I'M CLUELESS : MINISTER FUMES AS MILLERS BEGIN LOCAL MAIZE DISTRIBUTION


BULAWAYO Provincial Affairs Minister Judith Ncube has condemned the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) for running the zonal mealie-meal distribution in the city without consulting locals.

The programme, which started in Bulawayo on Wednesday, is aimed at averting corruption in the sale of subsidised roller meal. Some people have been sourcing the product from the official market at the recommended selling price of $70 a 10 kg bag and sell it for as much as $170 a bag on the black market.

Minister Ncube said the zonal distribution was a noble idea but said it was distasteful that millers wanted to run the show without consulting locals. She said she felt ashamed when some businesspeople and community members approached her for more details only to find her also clueless.

“While we appreciate the gesture and the people are really in need of this basic commodity, it is not proper for me to see it on social media and hear that such is happening. It is a noble cause, but the locals always know their challenges better and know what homegrown solutions work. We have always had ozibuthe lamabhuku. It would have been noble to also hear of this zonal distribution programme from the millers themselves not from social media. Right now, even when people call my office and seek details about the programme, I am also clueless and all I have is a chain message I saw on WhatsApp. It is not the proper way of doing things,” she said. 

The minister asked how a proposal went into implementation stage, on behalf of Bulawayo while leaving the people of Bulawayo out of the process.

“We must all sit at the table and add inputs on how it can be rolled out in Bulawayo. I hear the mealie-meal has been coming to the city, some are buying in numbers, some people are reselling the mealie-meal, we see them on WhatsApp statuses and in the street selling roller meal at a premium,” said the minister.

“These are some of the issues that we are very much concerned with. Involve the people of Bulawayo so that we may also add input on how we can address the issue of the black market. If people are abusing this facility, now how do we protect the millers when we have not been involved from the onset. It makes it very difficult.

“I read about this zoning in the papers. There are people who want to run Bulawayo without us knowing. 

“That will not work. If you have your dream or your idea, you may approach the relevant office, and do not implement your own things, you will mess things up for us in Bulawayo. Come up with your suggestions, our offices are always open.

“We know what has worked and what has failed and we are open to new ideas, just do not leave the locals out,” she said.

She urged corporates to respect and involve local people in decision making and developmental projects so that the programmes implemented would be crafted to be relevant to the needs of the people.

“This is how they operate. But this is how we operate. People have approached me and said they don’t want the zonal distribution to go via shops due to corruption and rejection of other payment options as they want cash only. The people of Bulawayo find it nagging. I have actually been approached by people who have made suggestions of better ways of doing this thing, but I have no platform of suggesting them since we have been left out,” she said.

GMAZ public relations manager Mr Garikai Chaunza could not be reached for comment yesterday.  Chronicle

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