In a move aimed at minimising prevalent social distancing violations during the extended national lockdown, the Zimbabwe Government is mooting door-to-door deliveries of subsidised mealie-meal to households in Bulawayo as it steps up efforts to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country.
Zimbabwe is four days away from ending the extended five-week national lockdown announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa a fortnight ago.
Speàking to journalists in the country’s second largest city on Tuesday, Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister Judith Ncube said the envisaged move was birthed after it had been noted that the general populace was failing to observe the principle of social distancing when queuing for mealie-meal.
The landlocked southern African country which was once revered as the breadbasket of the entire region, has perrenially faced food challenges widely blamed on a state-sponsored chaotic land grab of productive white-owned commercial farms of the early 2000s.
And, as the Covid-19 social distancing principle continues to be flagrantly flouted by general Zimbabweans during this lockdown epoch, the Harare administration is now working with the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) to deliver subsidised mealie-meal right at people’s doorsteps, in the neighborhoods.
Minister Ncube said residents from Bulawayo’s Thorngrove, Njube and Entumbane suburbs will be the first to benefit in a pilot project before the programme is rolled out to other suburbs in the eastern and western areas of the city.
She said local millers have been tasked to do the door-to-door deliveries of the subsidised commodity.
“We have come up with a mealie meal distribution strategy that will see mealie meal being delivered at household level. We have since selected three priority areas namely Thorngrove, Njube and Entumbane as part of the pilot project before rolling out the programme to other locations in both high and low density suburbs,” Minister Ncube said.
She said Harare is working with GMAZ to ensure the smooth implementation of the strategy. The committee responsible for the distribution is expected ‘to start sampling of people (today) in the three identified suburbs.
Following amplified public concerns that hard-pressed Zimbabweans were failing to access the mealie-meal as it was being unilaterally channelled towards the parallel market, GMAZ introduced nationwide zonal distribution of the subsidised roller meal.
The GMAZ-fronted programme has seen the basic commodity being delivered to shops in selected urban areas which include Bulawayo, Harare, Mutare, Marondera, Kwekwe, Gweru and Chitungwiza.
If positively implemented, the programme is expected to culminate in minimal movement of people and ease congestion in the central business districts during the mandatory lockdown as people have been searching for the mealie-meal at varying and oft-exorbitant pricing figures.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to announce new Covid-19 measures as the curtain to his extended 35-day national lockdown comes down on Sunday.
Additional Reporting Done by Zwnews