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Zimbabwe Opposition Slams World Food Program Assistance Cuts

Zimbabwean opposition leaders have deplored the World Food Program’s reduction of assistance to Zimbabwe, arguing that this will strengthen the government’s hand in the use of food as a political tool in addition to leaving many Zimbabweans hungry.

The Associated Press reported from Stockholm, Sweden, where opposition leaders traveled at the invitation of the Olof Palme Center, that secretary general Tendai Biti of the Movement for Democratic Change faction led by MDC founding president Morgan Tsvangirai called the WFP decision "tragic" in its likely impact on rural dwellers.

Secretary-General Welshman Ncube of the rival MDC faction said the decision would, by widening food shortages, increase Harare's ability to use food distribution through state channels as an instrument of political control - an accusation that has often been lodged against the government of President Robert Mugabe.

But International Crisis Group senior analyst Sidney Masamv in Pretoria, South Africa, told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that food shortages are in fact of concern to Harare as they reflect the failure of its land reform policy.

More reports from VOA's Studio Seven For Zimbabwe...