By Itai Muzondo
Masvingo, 3 September 2015 – Corruption has been a rampant illegal practice synonymous with high offices in towns and cities but it has reportedly penetrated the communal lands of Zaka where health officers at Nemauku Clinic are soliciting for bribes in the form of farm produce from women in need of contraceptives.
During interviews with Radio VOP, women from the area testified against the acts of corruption which have seen them fork out the little food they had served in their granaries as payment.
“We are not happy with what we are experiencing from the three health workers at our community clinic. To get contraceptives, you should have bribed the clinic staff with something from your granary or you risk spending the whole day at the clinic trying to get contraceptives,” said Tecla Matore.
“We pay the health personnel with food staffs from our granaries ranging from sweet potatoes, ground nuts or any other available food staff since we have no access to hard cash as bribes would be done in the cities. In return, you get contraceptives and a perfect service when you visit the clinic,” testified Chiedza Mawadze.
The acting provincial Medical Director for Masvingo Province, Amadius Shamhu said such acts are a complete contravention of the Zimbabwean law and urged villagers to report anything they are not satisfied with to the police station or any higher government office.
“Such acts are not acceptable in the Ministry and are a total contravention of the Zimbabwean law. I thereby urge all villagers who suffer such disturbing situations to report the cases through the police, senior government offices or active organisations within the area so that we quickly get the reports and deal with the culprits,” said Shamhu.
Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council of Zimbawe Provincial Manager, Peter Vhoko condemned the situation and said the culprits should be charged.
“No one should pay even a single cent or anything in kind to get contraceptives. Government has already paid for all that so people should not pay. Once such situations get to the highest office so that the culprits would be charged,” said Vhoko.
Women Coalition Zimbabwe Coordinator for Masvingo Province, Mable Sikhosana blasted the on-going scandals saying she will approach the responsible authorities through her organisation and make sure the disturbing situation is dealt with.
“Such a situation is actually a rot penetrating the health sector in the rural areas. The health officers say they only receive kind gifts from the villagers but honestly, there is nothing like that; the gift will go back with a favour in return.
“We will definitely push the responsible authorities to swiftly deal with this,” Sikhosana said.
Meanwhile, villagers in the area raised more concerns mainly the sub-standard bridge which connects them with the growth point saying they usually have shortage of drugs at their clinic in the rainy season as it would be flooded. The villagers also added that ambulances are not accessible to the area during the fast approaching rainy season as they fail to cross the bridge in time of emergency.