MASVINGO – Acting Chief Nyamandi born Siyano Machaya has told village heads not to give Presidential agricultural inputs to anyone deemed not to have voted Zanu PF in the August 2023 harmonised elections.
Nyamandi is the largest and most populous chieftainship in Gutu District spanning three wards.
Nyamandi told a Mirror undercover journalist in a telephone call that he had the backing of Zanu PF national secretary for security and Minister of State in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Lovemore Matuke in the programme. He said he is currently going around in the company of Central Intelligence Officers (CIO) and Police officers from the CID in Gutu instructing village heads not to give Presidential inputs to CCC supporters.
The Mirror has recordings of the chief. Chiefs are by law not allowed to dabble in politics.
Earlier, on Saturday September 30, 2023 Nyamandi addressed village heads at Mutero and instructed them not to give any Presidential inputs to CCC supporters.
“You should not give anything to people who did not vote for the President. The Presidential inputs that are coming in the next few days are for those who voted President Mnangagwa. You cannot give food to someone who did not support you. Inputs coming from the President are for his supporters,” said Nyamandi.
Matuke however, distanced himself from Nyamandi’s statement. He said that he never talked to the chief about the distribution of inputs and as far as he is concerned Presidential inputs are for everyone.
“If the chief has his own inputs, he can give that out at his discretion but State aid is for everyone,” said Matuke.
Police Spokesperson Paul Nyathi said he can only comment after gathering facts on the issue.
CIO Director General Isaac Moyo’s phone was not reachable.
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission spokesperson Everson Mushava could not be eached for comment. Questions sent on his Whatsaap platform remained undelivered.
CCC spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi said chiefs should not delve in politics but embrace all their subjects.
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum acting executive director Wilfred Mandinde said presidential inputs are there for everyone because they are provided by the State.
“If Zanu PF wants to distribute its resources it can do so without using State machinery,” said Mandinde.
He warned Chief Nyamandi to stop dabbling in politics citing an order issued by the High Court in Masvingo against Chief Charumbira.
“Ndakavaudza vese kuti vasina nechekuita ne musangano we Zanu PF hapana chavanowana. Shuwa tingape munhu waipikisa President chikafu? Madates e distribution ndichaudzwa naDA (I told them that anyone who was against Zanu PF during elections will not get anything. We cannot feed those who opposed President Mnangagwa. I will get the distribution dates from the District Development Coordinator (DDC) offices,” he says in one audio.
However, when The Mirror later contacted him for a comment, Nyamandi vehemently refuted his earlier statement but confirmed what the public had always feared that Zanu PF is responsible for the distribution of welfare aid.
“I never said that. Everything is done by Zanu PF the ruling party with the assistance of Agriculture Extension (Agritex) officers and headmen. I never uttered such words. Every subject in my chiefdom should receive food and inputs,” he said.
Nyamandi’s position jellies with Zanu PF’s strategy on Election Day where villagers were recording their names with party officials before going into polling booths. It was said that the list would be used for distribution of Government aid.
Gutu district is one of the most polarized districts and is not new to cases of politicization of food aid and presidential inputs. The polarization was most acute in Gutu North under Zanu PF legislator Yeukai Simbanegavi. Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum acting executive director Wilfred Mandinde said .