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Mandela's Wife Grieves for Zimbabwe Children Lost to AIDS

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Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –

During a weeklong tour of Zimbabwe, Graca Machel, wife of former South African president, Nelson Mandela, decried the loss of 100 children who die each day in that southern African country, many of them as a consequence of HIV/AIDS.

Machel, a UNICEF Children’s Advocate, noted there is knowledge, medication, and capacity to reduce the number of children infected with HIV and to treat those with AIDS. There was no reason, she said, why children in Zimbabwe and other countries in the region should continue to die because they have no access to treatment.

On her tour, the former first lady met with children from several different organizations, and called the experience “emotional.” A frequent critic of the government of President Robert Mugabe, Machel did not openly fault the President during the visit but urged him to continue with a constitution-rewriting process started in June.

Meanwhile, a bitter divorce proceeding has thrown a harsh light on the wealth accumulated by Mugabe’s closest allies. Government Minister Ignatius Chombo is suing his estranged wife Marian for possession of nearly 100 properties, 15 cars (including Land Cruisers, Mercedes Benzes, and trucks), safari camps, cattle, mines, and 10 companies.

Chombo’s reported riches are merely “the tip of the iceberg amid reports that “other senior Mugabe party officials literally (own) whole towns, like Rusape and Victoria Falls,” declared a spokesman for the opposition.

Revelations about Chombo’s wealth call into question the Mugabe administration’s claims that sanctions imposed by western countries are to blame for the country’s economic collapse during the last decade, the spokesman said.

Machel concurred, adding that the Mugabe administration should assume responsibility and protect the rights of its citizens.

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