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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 March, 2004, 18:02 GMT
Anti-Mugabe group takes up condoms
Condoms
Condom use is actively encouraged in Zimbabwe
Underground campaigners in Zimbabwe are using stickers on condom packets to urge people to join the struggle for democratic change.

The bright red and yellow stickers carry the slogan "Get Up, Stand Up" - a lyric from a Bob Marley song calling on people to stand up for their rights.

They are being stuck on condoms supplied by international development groups in the United States.

Zimbabwe state radio has blamed the US government for the campaign.

Zvakwana calls on all Zimbabweans to take courage and get up and stand up in pursuit of human rights
Zvakwana statement
But an official with the US-based agency responsible for distributing the condoms told state radio he was "shocked" by the campaign and said it would undermine efforts to fight HIV/Aids in Zimbabwe.

The US International Development Agency is supplying 90 million condoms to Zimbabwe at a cost of $8.5m. Many are distributed free.

'Revolutionary'

Condom use is actively encouraged by the media in Zimbabwe, where around 25% of the population is HIV positive.

But the Zvakwana (Enough is Enough) movement, which describes itself as non-partisan but has acquired a reputation for anti-government activism, said in a statement that its "revolutionary" condoms were popular among the youth.

Around 650,000 of the condoms had been distributed in February, it said.

The statement added that they had the dual purpose of making Zimbabweans review their behaviour in health issues and empowering them to demand transparency from political leaders.

Last month, the group sent President Robert Mugabe thousands of postcards on his 80th birthday criticizing his lavish celebrations in a country suffering the double onslaught of Aids and drought.


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