A commission on human rights has raised concern on the delays being experienced in the distribution of government cash disbursements for beneficiaries to survive the lockdown caused by the COVID-19.
The government offered to disburse ZW$600 million to vulnerable groups in Zimbabwe’s urban areas in April.
Social Welfare Minister Paul Mavima who had earlier released information pointing to the disbursement of such funds, later on, agreed that no cash had been disbursed for the vulnerable Zimbabweans.
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) in a statement says, “The government cash disbursement and other social protection mechanisms were noted as a welcome relief to most food insecure households who also lost their sources of livelihoods due to the current lockdown. The Commission is, however, concerned by the delays being experienced in the distribution of assistance to the registered beneficiaries.”
“Although names of vulnerable persons had been compiled, there was no assistance that had been received on the ground…”
ZHRC also noted that households could not afford to purchase the subsidized mealie meal provided in urban and peri-urban owing to lack of income.
The government has been providing mealie meal at subsidised prices to help urban dwellers survive in the current lockdown.
“Some households which afforded to buy the mealie meal failed to buy due to overcrowding at the retail outlets,” the commission says.
“At times law enforcement officials were overwhelmed and failed to maintain order and social distancing. This put the lives of people at risk.”
Political structures were used in the compiling names of vulnerable individuals for purposes of benefiting from government programmes according to complaints received by the ZHRC.
“Some individuals indicated that they were made to pay a fee to have their names written on the list of vulnerable persons,” the commission says.
“The ZHRC strongly condemns such criminal behavior and urges political parties to
desist from such practices as the identification of vulnerable persons should be the preserve of the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. The ZHRC has brought this finding to the relevant Ministry which has committed to investigate and rectify the issue.”