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WHO SHOULD DISTRIBUTE FOOD?

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MBABANE - Infighting among politicians will delay the pending food distribution in some constituencies amid the coronavirus outbreak.


The fighting politicians include Members of Parliament (MPs), constituency headman and bucopho.
Information gathered was that there had been squabbles among some politicians on who should be the rightful person to identify and register beneficiaries of the food relief programme by government. The confusion has also been observed by the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), which is the custodian of the registration and ultimate distribution of the food relief. The registration is aimed at identifying people who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Situation


In response to the prevailing situation, the NDMA suggested that politicians should not be directly involved in the registration of people who have been hit hard by the pandemic.


However, this did not go down well with some politicians who wanted to know why they were being sidelined yet they knew the people on the ground who were hungry.


NDMA Chief Executive Officer Russell Dlamini said politicians and local authorities were only expected to assist the task team in identifying the most vulnerable people during the trying times. Dlamini said the NDMA had trained officers from different non-governmental organisations to work with the politicians and the local authorities during the course of the assessment.  Local authorities refer to inner councils which work closely with bucopho and caregivers.


This, he said, was aimed at promoting fairness and transparency during the exercise. He stated that it had come to their attention that some individuals in other areas were politicising the registration of the beneficiaries for future election.


As a result, he said there was confusion on who should conduct the assessment between the MPs, headmen, bucopho and caregivers. Dlamini stated that for areas where there was such confusion over the registration, the exercise would start afresh, which will result in the distribution of the food parcels being delayed.

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