via Icasa delegates inconvenienced – DailyNews Live Helen Kadirire, STAFF WRITER • 1 December 2015
HARARE – Delegates to the 18th International Conference on Aids in Africa (Icasa) have had to be moved from Rainbow Towers in Harare to Bulawayo to make way for Chinese President Xi Jinping and his entourage.
The delegates are said to be shuttled daily by air to and from Bulawayo.
Icasa, which was officially opened on Sunday by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, is the biggest Aids conference in Africa and has pooled over 7 000 delegates.
Besides the inconvenience, the delegates are facing a bewildering array of rip-off registration fees being demanded by organisers.
Delegates who spoke to the Daily News said the event was a rip-off, with each delegate asked to fork out fees ranging from $300 to $700 for the week-long Aids conference.
One delegate from Highfield, Cynthia Gondo, said had it not been for an Aids organisation that subsidised her entrance, she would not have attended.
“I am a peer educator in Highfield but my job does not pay me enough to support the $300 needed for registration to the conference. If I had not been approached by my organisation, I would simply have ignored the whole event,” she said.
An exhibitor, who declined to be named, also lamented the high fees required to set up a stand, which range between $1 500 to more than $5 000 for a prime spot.
“This event is not for the poor. The money required is too high and if you do not get your anticipated exposure, it will have all gone to waste,” he said.
An official at the conference said the amount charged per exhibition depends on the tent size and location on the conference grounds.
“The smallest tent costs $5 280 but that all depends with the tent size. I cannot comment anymore on the matter,” he said, declining to be named, citing protocol.
If all delegates paid $300, it means Icasa would pocket $2,1 million.
The $300 does not include meals and transport.