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Sexual allegations rock Zimbabwe's National Aids Council

by Staff rpeorter
13 Jan 2019 at 08:43hrs | Views
Government has launched an investigation into the operations of the National Aids Council (NAC) over allegations of sexual harassment, corporate sleaze and maladministration.

The probe coincides with last week's departure of NAC chief executive officer Dr Tapiwa Magure after a 14-year tenure.

Dr Magure was reportedly given a golden parachute ostensibly for his long service.

Over the past few months, NAC's top managers and board members have been battling a slew of allegations that include tender scandals, abuse of public funds and sexual harassment.

A recent report by the Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) - a statutory body - implicates NAC's board members and top directors, including Dr Magure, in some of the shenanigans.

Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo last week confirmed Dr Magure had left NAC.

He, however, noted that he wasn't in a position to shed light on the matter as this would jeopardise ongoing investigations.

"I am not in a position to discuss any issues pertaining to NAC at the moment. Anything I say may work against what we are doing to restore order at the institution," he said.

An internal memorandum dated January 8 2019 generated by NAC purports that Dr Magure had left the institution in compliance with the new Public Entities and Corporate Governance Act, which limits the term of CEOs of State enterprises and parastatals to 10 years.

Those who had already served more than 10 years when the law was gazetted on May 11 last year were allowed to stay on for six months while replacements were being sought.

"This serves to notify all employees that the NAC chief executive officer, Dr Tapuwa Magure, has left employment with effect from January 7 2019. The termination of his employment is in line with provisions of the Public Entities and Corporate Governance (Act Chapter 10:31)," read the letter from NAC's human resources department.

Dr Magure had not responded to questions sent to his email by the time of going to print.

Also, NAC's board chair Dr Evaristo Marowa, who recently told The Sunday Mail that "my hands are clean", could not be reached for comment last week.

The ZGC fell short of calling NAC - which is ironically mandated to reduce and eliminate incidences of HIV/AIDS - a brothel.

ZGC said: "There are rampant consensual intra-organisational sexual relations amongst NAC secretariat including senior management who have sexual relations amongst themselves and also with junior employees.

"Sexual harassment is taking place within the organisation, with female students on internship and junior staff members being the targets. Students on internship are falling prey to junior male staff members while junior female staff members are targeted by senior management."

Interestingly, ZGC said the jettisoned CEO admitted to having improper relations with three staff members.

He also claimed to have subsequently married two of his lovers.

"The chief executive officer admitted having three relationships with junior officers within the organisation. He admitted to customarily marrying two of the junior officers over and above a civil marriage which is still subsisting."

In its recommendations, the ZGC report encouraged the Ministry of Health and Child Care to "exercise more stringent oversight on the National Aids Council, which has serious corporate governance challenges."  rate governance. Dr Magure likened himself to former South African President Jacob Zuma whom he viewed as a good leader in spite of his polygamous relationships."

But ZGC also encouraged NAC officials to desist from the scandals and "walk the talk of prevention of HIV infection".

"As a state institution, negativity in policy and operational issues has ripple effects on stakeholders who benefit from their services as well the perception of the international community of the country's management of HIV/AIDS service provision. One of the principles of development work is to Do No Harm. By engaging in conduct, sexual or otherwise, that may result in the cessation of programming and other support to those who are supposed to benefit, National Aids Council Board, management and staff are covertly perpetuating harm on the Zimbabwe population living with HIV."

The organisation's operations director, Mr Raymond Yekeye, has been appointed acting CEO.

But again, Mr Yekeye is being accused of being part of the rot at the organisation.

Source - zimpapers