SOUTHERN Province deputy permanent secretary Kennedy Mubanga has explained that the food relief programme under the DMMU has been designed to also cater for domesticated animals as there is no grazing pasture.
The explanation comes in the wake of the opposition UPND accusing the government of distributing cattle feed to hunger stricken villages.
In a statement issued by Neto Halwabala, who is UPND provincial deputy information and publicity secretary, recipients of the relief food were being advised to have the cattle feed milled and then mixed with mealie-meal before consumption.
“The Patriotic Front government is giving maize bran (gaga) as relief food to people of Southern Province. How can PF government advise people in Southern Province to grind maize bran and mix it with maize meal? This is the worst dehumanising kind of treatment by this irresponsible regime,” Halwabala said.
He said the PF government had refused to declare the hunger situation being experienced in the province a disaster.
Halwabala wondered why the PF government was distributing maize bran to drought areas.
Halwabala urged the government not to politicise the situation but put people’s lives first.
“The people of Zambia cannot continue being dehumanised by PF when they have suitable leaders in UPND,” said Halwabala.
But Mubanga explained that affected families that had animals were receiving 12 kilogramme bags of mealie-meal as well as animal feed generated after milling the 100 metric tonnes of maize.
“Some traders were buying the maize from the affected families and reselling it at an exorbitant price, so the intended purpose of alleviating hunger was being defeated. The innovation is to grind the maize into mealie-meal to cut out the traders and also the cost on the targeted families,” explained Mubanga.
“This drought has also affected animals and they are, under the current regime, also to get relief food because there is nowhere to graze. The mealie-meal is given to human beings and the feed to animals. But if you like it, as it is too nice, what can we do? People should not play politics, we are administrators, we don’t play politics.”