[Mugabe and his Govt flip flop almost daily about whether they do or do
not need food - even though it is obvious to all that they do. They
obviously are trying to cover up their lies and their failures. But -
they're not fooling anyone in the know. The United Nations keeps trying
to save these people. It all helps to keep that cretin Mugabe in power.
Harare - Zimbabwe said on Thursday it didn't ask for and doesn't need the
food aid the United Nations (UN) has promised, insisting it could provide
for its own people amid a mounting humanitarian crisis rooted in
Social welfare minister Nicholas Goche said the country, once the
region's breadbasket, had bought 1.2 metric tons of maize from South
He said that was enough to alleviate shortages caused by drought.
Goche said Zimbabwe was not making any request for international aid, but
welcomes any that comes.
Head of the UN World Food Programme, James Morris, met with President
Robert Mugabe to discuss what he described as "an enormous humanitarian
Morris said between three and four million Zimbabweans would need food
aid in the next year with the peak time of need coming between December
Mugabe gave the go ahead for food aid
Morris, speaking to reporters in South Africa, said Mugabe had made a
"strong commitment" to allow non-governmental organisations to distribute
Mugabe's government has been accused of using its control of aid to
punish opponents by denying them food.
More than one million people in the capital alone could be left homeless
by the crackdown the government calls a clean-up campaign.
The government claims current shortages of many staples, including
cornmeal, sugar and gasoline, are the result of speculation and hoarding
by black market traders.
The state-owned Herald newspaper quoted police spokesperson Wayne
Bvuzijena on Wednesday as saying police had arrested more than 22 000
people since the crackdown began.
"We have so far arrested a total of 22 735 people and recovered 33.5kg of
gold from 47 illegal gold panners and 26 000 litres of fuel," said
Mugabe lashes out against relief agencies
Before recent elections, Mugabe forecast a bumper harvest of 2.5 million
metric tons of maize and told relief agencies to direct their efforts
elsewhere and not "choke" Zimbabweans with unneeded aid.
But Goche's top public servant, Sydney Mhishi, predicted last week even
by rushed and preliminary government estimates at least 2.8 million
people would need food aid in the coming year.
The state radio broadcast on Thursday also carried a denial by police
spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka that officers involved in the arrest of
street traders and the demolition of thousands of shacks had been
responsible for widespread looting.
Reports that police stole food and electric goods were attempts to smear
the reputation of the police, said Mandipaka.
Amnesty International (AI) on Wednesday called on the government to halt
the forced mass evictions it said have left whole communities homeless
and destroyed thousands of livelihoods.
Housing minister Ignatius Chombo announced on Thursday 250,000 new
housing plots would be made available to the urban poor, including
150,000 in Harare.
Edited by Fidelia van der Linde