Jonathan Moyo must not trivialise war on AIDS

Tanonoka Joseph Whande
December 8th, 2011

The world has suffered unspeakable disasters owing to people with loose lips.
Loose lips have sunk ships, started world wars and killed millions.
There does not appear to be anything more dangerous than a person with wobbly lips who deliberately mislead the people.
I am appalled by what Jonathan Moyo recently said when commenting on Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s unfortunate handling of his romantic escapades.
To be honest, Tsvangirai did himself and his party a lot of damage by the careless manner in which he handled the fallout from his romantic jaunts.
Whether state agents were involved or not, what the Prime Minister did and did not do before, during and after the news of the pregnant woman broke out has a direct bearing on the type of person or leader he is.
It is no wonder, therefore, that people, self-righteous children of some god and jealous politicians would fall over themselves to offer their virtuous takes on what Tsvangirai did, should not have done and on what he should do.
I believe that in retrospect, Tsvangirai agrees that he messed up big time. But I will let the dust settle and hope a proper post mortem of the scandal is conducted, complete with a chronology of events so that we know what happened and who would let such a thing unfold on the shoulders of the nation.
It would do us and Mr Tsvangirai a lot of good if he could wake up a little bit and remember who he is and what any of his activities, public or private, mean to the nation and also to him.
It was a godsend for Jonathan Moyo, who pointed out some salient points to be pondered but spoiled it all by going on to spout a verbal torrent of rubbish, trying to look clean by holding up Tsvangirai’s dirty linen in public.
I do not know how many people out there consider Jonathan Moyo to be the conscience of their party or the nation of Zimbabwe such that he has to volunteer his verbal diarrhea into our eyes and noses.
“Hοw саn a man sleep wіth a woman аnԁ ѕау thаt іt wаѕ a sting? Jυѕt hοw?” asked Jonathan.
The man is so desperately naïve.
Yes, it is very possible for a man to sleep with a woman and find out it was a sting; it has been happening in the highest places of government and industry around the world everyday but that does not exonerate Tsvangirai nor does it make Jonathan Moyo’s verbal diarrhoea thicker.
But we are not discussing Tsvangirai today; I am discussing Jonathan Moyo’s shameless reaction to reports of Tsvangirai’s romantic forays.
“Whаt іѕ Tsvangirai’s HIV status? Iѕ hе negative οr positive?” asked Moyo.
Who wants to know, I say, and what business is it of his? Would Moyo tell us publicly his status? What business is it of ours? And, honestly, I don’t give a damn.
Why would I care? I would be too busy monitoring my own CD count, taking my ARVs and enjoying life to the full. It will never be my concern if someone from Tsholotsho, Chisumbanje or Muzarabani has caught syphilis or has a running stomach. They should go to the clinic like we do and the nurse will talk to them in private. But when he leaves the consultation room, he can yell, “I got gonorrhea,” if he so wishes.
Moyo concedes that nobody іѕ going “tο force Tsvangirai tο take a public HIV test wіth public results against thе law, whісh clearly protects hіѕ rights іn thіѕ topic, bυt іf hе ԁοеѕ nοt take іt nobody wіƖƖ trust hіm аnԁ trust іѕ everything іn politics”.
If trust is everything in politics, what is Jonathan Moyo doing in politics and how did he get in there? There are people who actually trust him?
Moyo says that if Tsvangirai ԁοеѕ nοt want tο take аn HIV test аnԁ tο hаνе thе results thereof іn print “іn light οf hіѕ scandalous sexual escapades”, thеn hе mυѕt quit аѕ both Prime Minister аnԁ leader οf hіѕ MDC”.
Aaah, so this is where it is leading to? It is not a health issue after all!
But Jonathan Moyo is being silly, or, maybe he is being publicly conceited.
It’s ok for him to look the other way when Robert Mugabe grabs someone else’s wife, impregnates her while his own wife lies dying in illness, corrupts a Catholic archbishop into solemnising the marriage and marries someone’s wife without details of when and where this woman’s divorce was filed, heard and granted?
Such is the man who has been our Prime minister and president and motor-mouth Jonathan Moyo never at any time alluded to that.
I mean, this is the stuff martyrs are made of.
Imagine if Moyo, in his heyday, had taken a stand against people who break up other men’s marriages! I cannot see how this sad presidential erection, oops, presidential transgression can possibly escape Johnnie Boy here. Unless, of course, we factor in the issue of money.
Johnnie Boy gets money from Mugabe while he gets zilch from Tsvangirai.
Talk about political prostitution!
The issue of HIV/AIDS must never be trivialised nor should it be used for political mileage. It is a serious issue that must be handled with brutality if we are to eradicate it, not to be used by the likes of Jonathan Moyo to endear himself well with ZANU-PF delegates who are incensed by his Weakileaks titbits at their on-going congress.
Zimbabwe, like the rest of the world, has suffered a great deal because of the AIDS pandemic. It cannot possibly be used as the butt of jokes or meaningless political metaphors or anecdotes.
Challenging anyone to take a public HIV test and making the results public is a cheap shot that does not benefit anyone.
Even Jonathan Moyo concedes the right to privacy in this but goes on to call for someone to do it all in public just to please a political section of the crowd.
Moyo was reportedly elected into parliament and Tsvangirai was not so Moyo should lead by example and take a public test himself to entice the people, including Tsvangirai, to follow suit.
The Zimbabwe government, like any other government in the world, is trying its very best to contain or slow down the spread of AIDS and we are responsible to play our part in this fight for life.
Recently, the government announced that it is soon to embark on a door to door HIV testing campaign.
It is a welcome effort although issues concerning privacy and available after-testing care should be paramount in this whole exercise.
The heart of the matter is that it is better to save lives than worry about who is going to know…people know already but are just not saying anything. We should not be distracted by cheap politicking.
A young woman, who responded to my enquiry from Harare, said: “I think that this is an excellent idea. I think that if more people were tested and knew their status we would be one step closer to ‘reaching zero’. I think that free and open testing removes stigma and shame attached and makes it easier for people to be tested as it is easier to be tested with everyone else than to go to a clinic and be tested on my own.”
She said that she does not think that being tested at home compromises the privacy of the individual being tested any more than being tested at a clinic would.
This is war to save lives and the likes of Jonathan Moyo should find other issues to score political points on.
A nurse in Harare also responded saying that in her opinion, door to door HIV testing is okay “as long as they will give the necessary treatment”.
She said a lot of people don’t get tested because they cannot afford the treatment, adding that few people care about the stigma and usually those are the people that can afford private testing and treatment. She, however, concluded by saying, “I still feel even then it must be by consent.”
Yes, on the look of it, Tsvangirai erred and handled the issue in a very clumsy manner. We, as a nation, are very embarrassed by all this and we wait for the Prime Minister to make some amends and offer the nation some gesture of contrition whether or not he was a victim of politics.
Jonathan Moyo should just shut up and not interfere with the fight against AIDS. This is the same man who allegedly used funds earmarked for health and AIDS to stage a beauty contest in Victoria Falls during his heyday in government.
The Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric Aids Foundation says that Zimbabwe contributes 4 percent of global HIV/Aids child infections daily.
That is a large number in any language.
We cannot afford to be sidetracked by spent forces that have nothing to offer the nation. We must continue the fight to save our people.
Politics and Jonathan Moyo must be kept away from this war.
I am Tanonoka Joseph Whande and that, my fellow Zimbabweans, is the way it is today, Thursday, December 8th, 2011.



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