By Staff Reporter
Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo on Sunday sparked a fierce backlash after he appeared to stigmatize people living with HIV by implying that Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa fell sick in Gwanda as a result of taking Anti-Retroviral drugs (ARVs).
As the saga over the alleged poisoning of Mnangagwa continues to rumble on, the acerbic Moyo took to his Twitter account telling his 179 000 followers that “The lot on my TL with crap about poison & food poison must note that chronic use of antibiotics or ARVs also induces vomiting & diarrhoea!”
The tweet however sparked an immediate backlash with one Andrew Maimba asking Moyo on Twitter: “Are you familiar with the National Aids Policy? Ndiwe watanga, are you aware your daughter at IDBZ collects her ARV’s at a Newlands clinic?”
Twitter user @YanFaan told Moyo “Stigma is a big problem in the fight against HIV/AIDS, don’t encourage it for political mileage. HIV knows no faction/party…”
Trevor Ncube whose company Alpha Media Holdings owns NewsDay, Zimbabwe Independent and Zimbabwe Standard also expressed his thoughts on the debate tweeting; “That awkward moment when you thought you were fighting ED (Mnangagwa) and then you stigmatize people taking ARV’s.”
Norton independent MP Temba Mliswa joined the fray telling Moyo “And be careful when you seem to be castigating those who are living with HIV, you might expose your closest allies.”
Mliswa escalated the matter further by claiming “ARVs are not poison, they can treat people who are living with HIV. What is used to treat homosexuals?”
Zanu PF is currently beset by fierce infighting over who will succeed President Robert Mugabe. Moyo is a linchpin of the G40 faction of the party that is opposed to Mnangagwa taking over. Mnangagwa leads the Lacoste faction of the party that is supported by war veterans and members of the military.