MILLERS in Bulawayo have accused the government-controlled Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and the Matabeleland North food taskforce of engaging in shady deals in the allocation of grain. <
In a letter written to the Matabeleland North provincial administrator, Livingstone Mashengele, recently the disgruntled millers urged him to take stern measures to normalise the distribution process.
“The criteria of maize allocation used nationally by the GMB is mainly based on milling capacities, we have observed with disaffection that in Bulawayo there are no clear cut criteria with figures being adjusted willy nilly,” the letter says.
“The method is not clear and is open to abuse and favouritism and underhand dealings and we urge your urgent intervention to normalise the non-transparent manner of maize distribution.”
Millers who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent said there was rampant corruption in the allocation of maize with established companies being sidelined for smaller ones with links to the ruling party.
“In the last two months we have had a situation where established companies have only been allocated meagre resources of up to 20 tonnes each while small milling companies without the capacity have been allocated over 70 tonnes of maize,” said one miller speaking to on condition he was not named.
According to sources at the GMB, the disgruntled millers, most of them established companies, have already met with Matabeleland North governor, Obert Mpofu, to register their discontent over the allocation process.
Millers say there was little chance of solving the problem as the favoured companies have links to senior provincial politicians.
Persistent efforts to contact Mpofu on the matter proved fruitless by the time of going to press.
This is not the first time that corruption has been alleged in the allocation of maize. In January the former Zanu PF chairman for Bulawayo province, Jabulani Sibanda, is alleged to have led former freedom fighters to the local GMB depot to protest against politicians accused of tampering with the maize distribution process.
The move however backfired when some of the accused politicians led a campaign that finally led to the ouster of Sibanda.