Monday, March 26, 2007

Wondering What's Happening in Zimbabwe? Interpress News Service Reports

"Right now some 2,000 people are dying in Zimbabwe every day. They die of AIDS and of malnutrition," Tendai Biti, an opposition member of parliament in Zimbabwe, said at the briefing in response to a question by IPS.

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS puts adult HIV prevalence in Zimbabwe at just over 20 percent. Anti-retroviral drugs that prolong the lives of those who have contracted HIV are scarce.

"Life expectancy in Zimbabwe is now 35 years…Eighty percent of Zimbabweans live below the poverty line of one dollar a day. An average family affords only one meal a day," Biti added, as Ncube chipped in to note: "Our church clinics say a lot of (people) die of malnutrition. The doctors are not there and the nurses have taken off (for posts overseas)."

Hundreds are said to have been killed in the political violence that has wracked Zimbabwe since 2000, when the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front faced its first credible challenge at the polls, from the MDC. The latest victim is Gift Tandare, a pro-democracy activist who died Mar. 11 when police shot him during a prayer meeting organised by the opposition in the capital -- Harare. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was beaten during the gathering by police, who reportedly fractured his skull. The abuse meted out to the opposition leader and other activists elicited global condemnation.

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