Terrence Mukupe at it again

HARARE - Knives have been drawn out against deputy Finance minister Terrence Mukupe after he made remarks live on radio that exposed the stigmatisation that still runs deep in the officialdom towards people living with HIV and Aids.

Although Mukupe is not a medical doctor and has no knowledge of former Finance minister Tendai Biti’s medical history, the Harare East legislator claimed on Thursday that his political rival was taking anti-retroviral drugs during a heated exchange aired on a local radio station.

Biti is one of the candidates challenging Mukupe for the Harare East constituency at the forthcoming harmonised polls to be held in July.

The People’s Democratic Party leader, who does not take prisoners, drew the ire of the former banker when he said the radio station should not invite him to debate a clown and drunkard.

He also took umbrage at Mukupe for his repeated interjections while he spoke.

They were deafening calls yesterday for the junior minister to be fired from government with critics trending under hashtag #MukupeMustFall to drive the point home.

United Kingdom-based law professor, Alex Magaisa, said it boggles the mind how President Emmerson Mnangagwa ended up with someone like Mukupe as a minister.

“Mr President, how did this chap become a minister in your government? What kind of behaviour is this — reversing all the gains that have been made to de-stigmatise HIV/Aids by making such stupid and cheap comments? This chap is a liability.

“Can’t someone take that pick from his hands? Mukupe just keeps on digging the hole. First he says the military will not respect the will of the people. When challenged he draws the race card and accuses his critic of racism. Now he deals the HIV card. Real cheap. Utter disgrace,” said Magaisa.

In an unprecedented move, even the Zanu PF youth league joined in by calling for action against the minister.

“We are fighting towards eradicating the stigma attached to HIV/Aids. Statements that seem to use one’s HIV status as a way of humiliating them directly sabotage government and the party’s efforts in fighting this stigma. We unreservedly condemn the deplorable utterances by ... Mukupe,” the youth league said in a statement issued on its Twitter handle.

Lawyer and aspiring independent candidate for Mt Pleasant constituency, Fadzai Mahere, said government must take action against Mukupe.

“I hope the government issues a press statement condemning Mukupe’s utterances as ‘reckless and most unfortunate.’ There’s no honour in mocking/stigmatising HIV. It’s a matter of regret that he weaponised an issue the nation has made so much progress on. Politics aside, this is sad,” said Mahere.

Thokozani Khupe-led MDC vice president, Obert Gutu, said it was a well-documented fact that almost every family in Zimbabwe had been affected by the Aids pandemic in one way or another.

“We have got friends and relatives who have been infected with the HIV virus and indeed, millions of dollars have been pumped into the global fight against Aids. It’s a total shame for anyone, more so a public figure and government minister to stigmatise people living with HIV,” said Gutu.

“Assuming he has got a sense of responsibility (which doesn’t appear likely from his numerous public gaffes), Mukupe should just proceed to do the honourable thing and immediately resign as a government minister and Member of Parliament”.

Gutu said if Mukupe does not resign voluntarily, Mnangagwa should give him the boot forthwith.

“Surely, if Webster Shamu could be sacked for attempting to rig a primary election, why should Mukupe remain in government after committing an even more serious and catastrophic transgression? Is Mukupe untouchable and if so, why?”

The secretary-general of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, Raymond Majongwe, said government, particularly the National Aids Council (Nac), should deal with Mukupe for reversing the gains that have been made against the once feared disease.

“Stigmatisation of people living with HIV is reaching alarming levels. The reckless statement by Mukupe cannot go unchallenged. How can we progress as a nation with such a leadership? The nation expects Nac to act,” said Majongwe.

Reacting to Mukupe’s statements, political activist Grace Kwinje, said the lawmaker was “exposing Mnangagwa for the liar and hypocrite he is”.

Action Aid director Joy Mabenge described Mukupe as “a disaster of monumental proportions. Stigmatising HIV/Aids on national radio was very low, extremely low!! Be professional Mukupe. You are a typical minister Zimbabweans do not need,” said Mabenge.

With an adult prevalence rate of 13,7 percent, Zimbabwe is one of the five countries hardest hit by the HIV and Aids scourge globally.

An estimated 1 102 864 million people — one in five Zimbabwean adults — were living with HIV and Aids in 2009 while approximately 66 073 people died of Aids related causes.

In southern Africa, Zimbabwe has the greatest access to antiretroviral treatment (ART), with 75 percent of people living with HIV on treatment, equivalent to over a million people.

In 2016, the country adopted a ‘‘treat all’’ policy towards ART, meaning all people should be started on treatment immediately, regardless of their CD4 count.

Comments (13)

Whether you are in the Ruling Party or Opposition it is not right to insult and stereotype people with HIV countrywide they are all Zimbabweans and they all have relatives and friends it hurts all those people downstream.

Moyo - 26 May 2018

Mukupe represents Mnangagwa , therefore Ngwena should have fired this moron and clown long back. He is Mnangagwa's protetege. Do not vote for Zanu-PF.

Argus - 26 May 2018

It boggles the mind when Munangagwa retains such ruffians in his administration. First it was fisticuffs with an employee of the Ministry of Finance for having been given an allowance which he deemed too little, then came the soldiers not saluting and refusing to accept anyone other than Munangagwa in the event of the latter being piped in the forthcoming elections. Personally, I had admiration for Munangagwa before these debacles but have since changed my mind and will go all the Chamisa way this election. Why are you, Munangagwa protecting this piece of shit. I live in Harare East and the Mukupe decampaign begins now. Tou are an imbecile and belong to the RGM era which espoused anything but sanity. Mukupe bring your soldiers to vote and we will see how many are in the consituency. You have a very short memory. Harare East belongs to Biti and has always been an MDC enclave.

Rudolphyus - 26 May 2018

I just wonder how those government officials including some of the highest office bearers think about this Mukupe affront considering that they are also HIV positive and on ARV's.

Rudolphyus - 26 May 2018

It's mind boggling to imagine that the single statement made by Mukupe has reversed all the gains made to date in fighting HIV/AIDS. Is it that simple? Zimbabweans are interesting people - so if he is fired the lost gains are recouped?

willo - 26 May 2018

I know fools when I see them. Mukupe is beyond stupid.

Moe Syslack - 26 May 2018

Another Grace Mugabe, only this time , it's a man. Mouth Diarrhea...

Den - 27 May 2018

Willo, its not about one or numerous statements. Its who said it and where it was said that makes the difference. Remember there are people who look up to these public figures. This statement was made on a national radio station by a public figure, now imagine how many people out there look up to Mukupe, and also heard him make such a statement. Those people now think its right to say something like that to an HIV +Vperson because someone they admire did it. If no action is taken against Mukupe it means its fine to do so, now imagine the ripple effect. So yes, firing Mukupe sends the message that such actions are not tolerated and it will make a difference.

Kwaa - 27 May 2018

ngwena stop preaching the gospel of peace coz we are now understanding and see yo tru colors remove that colourful scarf of our national beautful colors if u dont sack mukupe

desmond chikuvire - 27 May 2018

All those who are positive we advocate for a new government which is sensitive about those not feeling well the next to be talked by Mukupe are cancer patients.ZANU out another government in please we are tired.

Zanu PF - 27 May 2018

Mukupe my dear friend...you trully lost it on this one. my advice? Eat humble pie and live to fight another day. Or dont, and face the consequences for this ignorant type of hate speech.

TruthSaid - 28 May 2018

Mukupe is a total disgrace and highly unprofessional. I wonder why he is still in Government

Anonymous - 28 May 2018

Mukupe is not the only log in Zanu Pf.We have a whole lot of them like Mpofu, Mandiwanzira and others who are just there as a convinience to the party.These people are necessary in Zanu Pf because they destroy it from inside like what happened with Jona Moyo.Mukupe thinks living with H.I.V is a crime.He is actually the Aids destroying Zanu Pf.He even talks nonsense on tv saying Zimbabweans dont need to carry cash around but he knows who are carrying huge sums of cash on the streets and selling it.Well in Zanu Pf even a donkey can be minister.Disgusting.....

Mhofu - 30 May 2018

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