In an unprecedented move against Zanu PF, 1 400 Gutu villagers on Tuesday last week forced Ward 8 councillor Lazarus Hute to take back 400 bags of fertilizer which was not enough to go round all of them
The incident happened at Vutsinda Business Center and five villagers were supposed to share one 50kg bag of fertilizer amongst them.
Hute confirmed the incident in a telephone interview with The Mirror adding that the matter was reported to the Minister of State for Masvingo, Ezra Chadzamira.
The villagers loaded the bags back into the lorry after caucusing amongst themselves and their village heads, said Hute. The lorry had to go back to Mpandawana with its untouched contents.
The incident comes at a time when there are reports of rampant fraud involving Presidential inputs by both elected and unelected Zanu PF officials. So far there have been no arrests of such culprits.
Gutu North MP Yeukai Simbanegavi hang her phone when The Mirror called her for comment. Chadzamira’s phone went unanswered.
Provincial Agritex officer Aaron Muchazivepi said it was not proper for villagers to share Pfumvudza inputs in such a manner as each household is supposed to get 2 x 50kg bags of fertilizer, one D and another top dressing. The farmers are also supposed to get 10kg of maize seed under the same programme.
A village head who spoke to The Mirror on condition of anonymity accused Hute of trying to impose his will on the villagers. Hute allegedly threatened to take away the fertilizer if the villagers refused it and the supposed beneficiaries then unanimously agreed to disperse and leave him with the truck and the bags.
“Hute told us that we either shared the fertilizer or if we refused he was going to take it to the next distribution centre. It is a mockery to give a farmer 10kg of fertilizer, so we did the practical thing by ordering him to take back his inputs.
“The irony is that we have received zero inputs this year and we are almost getting halfway into the rainy season,” said the village head.
Hute said that the problem was not his as he was given 1 000 bags from GMB to share at three distribution centers.
“I was given 1 000 bags of fertilizers which were not enough to share at three centres. I suggested to the headman who were present that five villagers share a bag of fertilizer since there was not enough. I did not force anyone to share fertilizer.
“After the villagers refused the fertilizer, we communicated with Minister Chadzamira who instructed us to give the fertilizer to villagers who were gathered at Runyowa and they each got a bag and a bottle of pesticide. Some of them did not get anything because they were over a thousand,” said Hute.
Gutu GMB manager Onwards Zvataiona refused to comment when contacted for a comment.
Efforts to get a comment from Gutu District Agritex officer August Karedzera were fruitless.
“Hute told us that we were either to share the fertilizer and if we refused he was going to take it to the next distribution centre. Our people cannot get 10kg of fertilizers when they are supposed to get 50kg each,” said another village head.
Gutu RDC chairperson Nicholas Zambara said councillors are given inputs matching registered villagers for the Pfumvudza Program.