Residents of the Gutu communal lands, Masvingo province in Zimbabwe have collectively tongue-lashed President Robert Mugabe for giving them cassava and bananas at a time when they need staple food.
President Mugabe, who visited the community to pay his condolences to the late Chief Gutu Amos Tasirai Masanganise, who died three years ago, donated these food crops to the villagers at a rally at Chamisa Primary School.
But instead of an over whelming appreciation, the villagers slammed the president saying his donation was a mockery to them as they don’t eat cassava while bananas are not associated with ending hunger.
One of the villagers who wished to be known as Gondodza said President Mugabe should have inquired what kind of food the villagers eat instead of donating just what he feels is best for them. He added that the people are best known eat traditional grains and not cassava.
“Cassava is alien to us and we don’t even know how to prepare or cook it. We thought that he was going to bring us the usual maize but he shocked us when he donated cassava and bananas. This is a mockery to starving villagers,” Gondodza said.
Speaking further on this, another villager, Timothy Mavhudzi, said the donation was a sign of desperate attempts by Mr. Mugabe to please hungry Zimbabweans.
“To me these are very desperate measures because bananas cannot end hunger … It shows that the president is losing his senses. How can he bring something that is not our staple food? He should have brought maize and not cassava,” said Mavhudzi as she reiterated that the president purposely did that to mock the people of Gutu.
“We were very surprised to see the president bringing cassava and bananas. It was funny and also an insult to us. How could he bring such things when he knows that our staple food is maize? Maybe due to his advanced age, he has forgotten that our staple food is sadza.”
Though not yet confirmed, indications are that the president sourced the cassava and bananas from Equatorial Guinea in West Africa.
Others however, expressed shock over Mugabe’s condolence visit to a man who has been deed for several years.
Zimbabweans have been suffering from gross economic fall made worse by increased drought in the land leading to severely felt hunger and lack.
A very high percentage of the country’s population is projected to be food insecure at the peak of the 2015-16 lean seasons with about 28 percent of children under age five in having stunted growth or having heights too low for their age, as a result of chronic malnutrition.
Zimbabwe has highly volatile food prices, which can increase by more than 30-40 percent in a season. Price instability, especially during the lean season, compromises households’ ability to access adequate food year-round through markets