Commissions Watch 15th Nov 2018 [ZHRC Reports: Politically Partisan Distribution of State Aid during Elections] COMMISSIONS WATCH 15th November 2018 ZHRC Reports on Politically Partisan Distribution of State Aid During Elections The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) has released a series of reports about politically partisan distribution of food and other State aid before and after polling in the 30th July election. The ZHRC received numerous complaints over the manner in which food aid and agricultural inputs from the State were being distributed, and conducted investigations into the veracity of the claims. In investigating the claims the ZHRC sought to interview both the complainants and those accused of politically partisan distribution of State aid during elections. The reports describe the ZHRC’s investigation of complaints from districts listed below. Each report records the findings arrived at by the ZHRC after the investigations, and its recommendations for remedial action by various State authorities and political parties. The districts concerned were: Gokwe, Chirumhanzu [both in Midlands Province] and Buhera and Chimanimani [both in Manicaland Province]. Each district was the subject of a separate report. Soft copies of the complete reports are available on the ZHRC website www.zhrc.org.zw; but please note that ZHRC have been having problems with the website. The reports are also available on the Veritas website using the following links: Gokwe [link]; Chirumanzu [link]; Buhera [link]; Chimanimani [link]. Findings The reports find most of the complaints to have been justified. They uncover a systematic use of food aid and agricultural inputs from the State as a tool to persuade the recipients to support ZANU PF, the ruling party; and/or to punish persons, otherwise entitled to aid and inputs, for being or perceived to be, or to be related to, supporters of opposition parties. Methods varied, but a common one was for a ZANU PF party official to take over the distribution of aid and inputs from officials, resulting in ZANU PF supporters getting preferential treatment and others either no aid at all or less than ZANU PF supporters. The reports unearth a structure involving District Committees, Ward Councillors, local ZANU PF chairpersons and traditional leaders [mainly headmen] who together were involved in the distribution of food aid and often demanded or expected loyalty to the incumbent party. The reports reveal a neglect of duty on the part of these community leaders.