Zimbabwean Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche summoned representatives of the National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations following news reports that ruling party elements interfered with the distribution of food, sources said.

News reports earlier quoted the civic group as saying Harare violated international law by seizing control of food distribution in rural areas so as to favor the ruling party. The country is experiencing deepening food shortages and the United Nations World Food Program has said it expects 4.1 million Zimbabweans to need aid by early 2008.

City dwellers are not faring well either: though they are better off financially, they have had trouble finding food since the government started imposed price cuts in July.

NANGO Chief Executive Officer Cephas Nhumwe declined to confirm that Goche had summoned him, but NGO sources said he had been called to a meeting today.

Independent development consultant Roger Mpande told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his own sources say aid has been tampered with.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...