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Last Updated: Monday, 15 November 2004, 09:19 GMT
Zimbabwe: The Food Fix
President Mugabe says the people of Zimbabwe have enough to eat, but he stands accused of letting them starve for his own political gain.

President Robert Mugabe
President Mugabe's Zanu-PF party have dominated politics since 1980

Classified by aid agencies as a "hunger emergency zone", Zimbabwe is turning away the charities who have been feeding millions there since 2001.

The charities themselves think their food supplies continue to be crucial.

President Mugabe, on the other hand, firmly believes his land reform policies are changing the fortunes of the country.

But how are the new settlers actually coping?

ZIMBABWE: THE FOOD FIX
Tuesday, 16 November, 2004
1930 GMT on BBC Two (UK)

Farai Sevenzo talks to some of these farmers and discovers that many are struggling, mainly due to lack of seed, equipment and water.

He also meets a young Zanu-PF candidate who concedes that the country may be experiencing a period of instability, but insists: "That is what happens when there is a revolution."

Political grain

Farai's journey takes him to a local hospital in the south, home to many weak children.

Medical staff there are unable to talk about the food situation, but the Archbishop of Bulawayo - Zimbabwe's second city - is outspoken on the subject and says that in just one year, 161 people in the city died of malnutrition.

But the lack of food aid and poor harvest are not the only reasons the people are hungry.

Ballot box
Elections in March 2005 will bring the food question into sharp focus

Farai has also heard that the government are impounding maize from ordinary people as they travel from the country into the town, in order to boost dwindling stocks and hide the fact there are food shortages.

He decides to put this to the test. Driving back from Harare, a hidden camera reveals he is stopped by Grain Marketing Board (GMB) officials and asked to handover the six bags of maize in his car.

Renson Gasela, shadow minister of agriculture in Zimbabwe and former member of the GMB, says: "There is an election next year, so the government wants to be the only one with food."

Is President Mugabe using food as his trump card?

Farai Sevenzo goes undercover to reveal those caught in a political food fix.

Zimbabwe: The Food Fix was broadcast on Tuesday, 16 November, 2004, at 1930 GMT on BBC Two (UK).

SEE ALSO
The mysterious grain drain
15 Nov 04 |  This World
Read your comments
12 Nov 04 |  This World

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