Former Tourism Perm Sec in HIV storm

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By Lance Guma

Dr Sylvester Maunganidze, a former permanent secretary in the tourism ministry after being fired last year, has allegedly ‘slept’ his way into another controversy after a group of women started a public campaign to name and shame him for infecting them with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Sylvester Maunganidze, a former permanent secretary in the tourism ministry
Sylvester Maunganidze, a former permanent secretary in the tourism ministry

Last year Maunganidze was sacked from his job after claiming Zimbabwe had exaggerated pictorial evidence to persuade judges to grant the country the right to host the prestigious United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNTWO) conference alongside Zambia.

This time however he has a more personal battle to fight.

The Zanu PF losing candidate for Chivi South is being accused of deliberately infecting young girls while claiming that he is HIV negative. A spokeswoman for the campaign said “this man has infected many innocent young women with HIV. At events he is known to hang around young secondary school children.”

“I can tell you that he infected my friend with HIV. He was dismissed for mishandling the UNTWO preparations because he focused on taking to bed unsuspecting beautiful women. He is a womanizer and when amongst his friends he boasts that he is the best Sugar Daddy in Masvingo.”

Asked why they thought going public and exposing someone’s HIV status was fair she told Nehanda Radio “This man is HIV positive and should be stopped from spreading the deadly disease to innocent girls. He thinks because he is a doctor he should have everything for himself. He is an evil man.”

The banners being circulated
The banners being circulated

The group has already produced posters denouncing Maunganidze. One banner read “Women beware this HIV spreader Bradah Sylvester Maunganidze” and another says “Parents Protect Your Children”. The group has also sent out letters to international organisations that deal with HIV and AIDS issues.

“I think people have let these criminals off the hook so readily and because of this they continue spreading this deadly disease. Naming and shaming them on an international stage and informing the international companies they deal with is one way of trying to deal with the problem,” she told Nehanda Radio.

“When we got to know this man well, we realized that he despises women. He always referred to the mother of his kids as “that woman”, that he was with her for the sake of the kids because she was from a poor family etc.

“He would say things like “Mzembi’s wife is a prostitute”… “Grace Mugabe is not intelligent enough to build a school. That is Bob trying to validate his wife”. Connecting the dots looking backwards, this man is the definition of a chauvinist who despises women,” the spokeswoman for the group said.

Efforts to contact Dr Maunganidze were futile as he was said to have taken two months leave but he defended himself against the accusations in one e-mail sent to one of his alleged victims and seen by Nehanda Radio. In an email dated Friday 3 May 2013 Maunganidze who is married tells his lover:

“No one has ever alleged what you allege of me. One day you shall know who I am. You can have a family. YOU can have kids. Don’t blame yourself. I know how we started. You had a past. I had a past. I have never infected anyone before. The very week we started you fell ill or so you told me.

“I am not going into the merits of your argument but I will not accept blame. I loved you and never wanted to spoil your life. One day I will go to your doctors. I am tired of your accusations. You can do anything with your life. You may be ill but you can live for decades to come.

“I thought you were working towards recovery. Please stop your insinuations. It doesn’t help. A lot of people who thought they were infected have come out in the open to declare THE DOCTORS GOT IT WRONG.”

The woman told Nehanda Radio “I was speechless. Not that I expected him to admit. How can a person in a position of power and most importantly a father do this to other people’s children? He deserves to be named and shamed for showing no respect and deliberately inflicting pain on other families.”

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