The dead have become the latest
victims of Zimbabwe's endless fuel shortages.
By Themba Nkosi
Some fuel attendants and garage owners have taken to demanding to see the corpses before they can sell fuel to hearse drivers enroute to cemeteries.
Petrol queues have become part of everyday life
When the fuel shortages became serious, undertakers
were given priority at petrol stations.
But then conmen started masquerading as undertakers and hearse
drivers and bought large quantities of fuel from garages
and sold it at exorbitant prices on the black market.
In some cases, the
conmen managed to produce what looked like genuine
burial certificates at petrol stations and were given
fuel by unsuspecting attendants.
The government and civic groups have condemned the
practice with church leaders describing it as
But garage owners have defended the
practice saying it is the only way to avoid selling
the scarce liquid to conmen masquerading as
The final trip can be a hard one
"We have been getting a lot of people claiming to be
from funeral parlours, some of them carrying fake
burial certificates," said one garage owner.
"In the end we discovered that conmen had exploited the privileges given to undertakers from genuine funeral parlours."
Funeral parlours fall under the Essential Services Act.
In Harare, undertakers were forced to take four
bodies to a service station after the garage owners
demanded proof that the driver of the hearse was
In some cases, the funeral parlours tell
bereaved families to source their own fuel before
bodies can be transported to cemeteries for burial.
The undertakers have lodged their complaints with the
Minister of Energy and Power Development, Amos Midzi.