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WFP Removes Zimbabwe Mayor from Food Aid Program

A World Food Program official distributing food aid to people in Mashonaland West. (Photo: Nunurai Jena)

The World Food Program (WFP) has removed Kariba mayor, George Masendu, from a list of food recipients following a public outcry over his family’s inclusion in a project set aside for the most vulnerable people in Zimbabwe, hard-hit by economic hardships.

According to the state-controlled Herald newspaper, the Masendu’s family was removal Friday amid reports that his second cited hunger as the reason for registering them under the food aid scheme.

The newspaper quoted WFP Zimbabwe country director, Francesca Erdelmann, as saying they took immediate action after some media organizations highlighted the anomaly.

Erdelmann said, “The World Food Programme is aware of media reports that two officials in Kariba were incorrectly included on a list of people there said to be eligible for WFP food assistance.

“A prompt WFP investigation of both allegations resulted in the two officials being removed from our list. The two cases have been referred to the Ministry of Public Service and Social Welfare for further action. WFP has zero tolerance for fraud and is committed to ensuring its assistance goes to those who meet strict eligibility criteria.”

Masendu earns ZWL2,000 per month. The WFP says there are more than 3,3 million Zimbabweans in urban areas facing hunger due to poor harvests in the past three agricultural seasons.

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