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feeds on Zimbabwe's poor
February 01, 2013
chest pains, Rosina Chataika, 57, was recently ferried 70km from
her rural home in Zvimba Distict to Parirenyatwa Hospital in Zimbabwe's
doctor said a blood test was required for a diagnosis, but for three
days no test was performed, and her condition worsened. Chataika
complained to the ward's male nurse, who asked her for a US$50
payment to "jump the queue".
Her son, a bricklayer
in the small town of Chegutu, about 120km from the capital, had
to beg relatives for the bribe money. Chataika's blood sample
was taken only after the nurse was paid.
after being discharged, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
She also sits on a $600 medical bill for her two-week hospital stay,
which she cannot afford to settle.
had not managed to raise that $50, I would have probably died. For
the days I was in hospital, I learned that the nurse demanded money
from many other desperate and poor patients who could not immediately
get the services they wanted. [He] could probably be getting rich
at the expense of the sick and poor," she told IRIN.
told Chataika that the male nurse worked in tandem with doctors
to provide preferential treatment at a cost. "The nurses,
messengers and some doctors are demanding money to ensure that admitted
patients get such things as medication. I am sure there are many
people who are dying because they cannot pay the bribes,"
experience is far from unique. The 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index,
by Transparency International, ranks
Zimbabwe at 163 out of 174 countries surveyed - with number 174,
Somalia, perceived as the most corrupt. Zimbabwe's position
on the index has fallen from 154 in 2011.
International Zimbabwe (TIZ) said in December 2012, "Corruption
amounts to a dirty tax, and the poor and most vulnerable are its
primary victims, especially [those in] the rural and marginalized
TIZ said corruption
was particularly rampant within the education, health, mining, sports,
judicial and agriculture sectors and was becoming ingrained within
Not all bribes
are paid with cash.
35, a divorced mother of two from Seke District, was denied a plot
on communal land because she refused to provide the headman with
wanted me to have sex with him before he would give me the plot,
which I need to grow vegetables for sale and to raise money to fend
for my children and pay their fees. When my husband went away, I
had to go and live with my elderly parents, but we are already a
burden to them.
because I won't give the village head the sexual favours he
demanded, my family will have to beg for food and money, and that
is not fair. I desperately need money, yet I cannot entertain the
idea of getting into commercial sex," she told IRIN.
the headman also demands villagers give him a cut of donor food
aid in order to remain on the beneficiaries' list. "We
are afraid to report him because we will be victimized," she
25, from Harare, is struggling to be admitted to a teacher training
college - even though he has the qualifications - because
he cannot afford the $500 bribe for admittance.
better grades at A-level than many people who have been admitted
by the colleges. They managed to raise the money to give lecturers
and college staff, but I have no brother or relative to help me,"
Karima told IRIN. "Corruption in Zimbabwe is making some poor
people get rich, and the rich, richer, while the majority of the
poor are getting poorer."
a member of parliament and chairperson of the Zimbabwe chapter of
the African Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption, told IRIN
poverty also meant powerlessness.
are the last in the queue and thus always miss out on life-changing
opportunities. In rural areas, traditional leaders are demanding
about $300 or cattle for one to be given land, but where do these
vulnerable people get the money or livestock from when they can't
even build a shelter?" he said.
the government's anti-corruption "body has failed because
it is influenced by politicians and does not have the money".
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