Ex-prisoners bemoan transport costs

BULAWAYO - Ex-detainees in Matabeleland have urged the government to decentralize offices dealing with their welfare issues, to avoid them having to trek to Harare.

The southern region Ex-Political prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees Association (ZEPPDRA), said the government should bring the same structures offering pension and health schemes to all provinces for their members to access them easily.

Samuel Mpofu, southern region ZEPPDRA chairperson, noted that scores of its members were facing problems accessing their pension funds and health schemes as they are told to travel to Harare for necessary procedures.

We cant afford to travel to Harare because it is expensive considering that most of us are unemployed and have no source of income. The government should bring similar structures to all other provinces so that there is no need to travel all the way to Harare because almost half of the money we get is chewed by transport costs alone, Moyo said.

He added: It is difficult to get access to health treatment using our scheme as our programme for chronic ailments is only accessible in Harare. Members of the ZEPPDRA also benefit from the 1997 unbudgeted government handouts to war veterans for their role during Zimbabwes war of liberation. The government has over the years buckled under pressure to demands of the war veterans and ZEPPDRA to increase their allowances and other benefits.

Members of ZEPPDRA are also fierce backers of President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) party.

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