Who is getting the money?

The face of Martha Silundika, wife of one of Zimbabwe's national heroes, has now graced the front pages of a local Sunday newspaper on several occasions. But what she has been saying is embarrassing to say the least. She says she is a destitute and is being taken to court because she cannot pay her debts.

Silundika says she has been trying for years to obtain compensation from the government but has so far failed because she cannot produce her prison number or proof that she was tortured by security agents of the Ian Smith regime while in detention.

Her case is even more disheartening considering that she was the wife of a cabinet minster and has educated children. This moves one to wonder what happens to the widows of other heroes who may not be as well educated as Silundika, say the wives of Chief Tangwena.

Apparently, money being given out under the National Heroes Dependants assistance vote has been increasing over the years and one wonders who gets the money. In 1990-91, for example, $340 000 was used under this item. In the last financial year, only $275 000,exactly $100 000 more than budgeted for, ended up being used. This year $500 000 has been allocated for this item.

There are also millions of dollars being spent on the war victims compensation scheme. Last year $55.4 million was used. A further $6 million has been added to this item in the current financial year with $61 million being allocated.

What is this money used for when there are cases like Silundika's? Should she be reduced to the state of going through the media to get her case heard when her husband was within the top ten of the then ZAPU hierarchy?

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