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Drought-Stricken Villagers Sell Property to Make Ends Meet

FILE: Women queue for food assistance distributed by the United Nations World Food Programme in Mwenezi, about 450 kilometers (280 miles) south of Harare, Zimbabwe, Wednesday, Sept. 9 2015.

Most villagers in Mashonaland West province are now surviving on piece jobs, selling their once-treasured property while the elderly are complaining that young people are grabbing all the drought relief aid in the region hit by a crippling drought.

Some villagers in the Mhangura, Doma, Kesi and Umboe communal lands say life is unbearable as serious food shortages are forcing them to sell property including land, scotch-carts, cattle and goats in order to buy food for their families.

One of the villagers George Phiri of Mhangura says the situation is critical in the mining region, where villagers are struggling to get food.

Another villager, Brian Tsoto, who is one of the lucky youth that got a piece of land when Zimbabwe embarked on its agrarian reforms in 2000, says it is disheartening that he is surviving on temporary jobs yet he has a piece of farm currently lying idle.

He says it is difficult to till the land due to the devastating drought, a situation that has forced him to depend on other villagers for food and basic necessities if he not doing some temporary work.

Seventy-five year-old Sekuru Handifari Mudyiwa of Hurungwe communal lands, says his family is now depending on the scarce state food handouts as most fields were reduced to dust bowls by the dry spell.

Indications are that some Zanu PF activists are grabbing food aid from elderly people, who can now hardly have a decent meal per day.

One of the affected elderly people is frail Sekuru Mudyiwa, who claims that his free food ration was recently snatched by suspected Zanu PF activists under the watchful eye of relief aid agencies.

Elderly Benjani Banda, who migrated from Malawi in 1960’s and worked the whole of his life in the mines, is in the same predicament.

Most people that are supposed to be engaged in farming are finding it hard to cultivate crops under such difficult conditions due to lack of water.

Munashe Mukototsi, who depends on farming for survival, says he has not been able to grow crops in the last two years because of drought.

He says he is now doing piece jobs in order to generate money for his household. Phiri says the future looks bleak for most villagers. Some villagers now believe that the only way for them to get out of this misery is to change the current Zanu PF government.

Mukototsi supports this idea though he believes that this is an uphill task.

Zimbabwe says at least 4 million people need drought relief aid as a result of the devastating drought already declared as a state of disaster by President Robert Mugabe.