Massive Corruption Unearthed At National Aids Council

Not only is Zimbabwe's National AIDS Council abusing money meant for ARVs for AIDS patients, but they are also condemning AIDS orphans, such as the one in the photo above, to misery. State media reports that out of US$1.7 million collected through taxes by the AIDS Council, only US$20 000 has been spent on ARVs this year. The rest bought cars and funded foreign junkets. Not a surprise, considering bodies like the NAC are staffed with ZANU PF loyalists, appointed by Mugabe's party to spread patronage. I hope they burn in hell.

Harare, Zimbabwe, 20 August 2009

The shamelessness of ZANU PF never ceases to amaze even jaded observers.

Today, state media carries a self-righteous report on the abuse of funds meant for AIDS patients by the National Aids Council in Zimbabwe.

It emerges that out of US$1.7 million collected since January, only US$20 000 has been spent on desperately needed ARVs, which can significantly alleviate the suffering of AIDS and HIV patients.

The rest was spent on "luxuries" for staff at the National AIDS Council, including well-funded junkets to foreign countries, luxury cars and shameful salaries against the background of civil servants who earn only US$100 per month.

Every Zimbabwean worker has to pay what is called an AIDS Levy on their earnings. The money is deducted at source, just like income tax.

Here's where the hypocrisy lies.

The National AIDS Council, like all other other government-controlled body, has been staffed with ZANU PF loyalists. ZANU PF is very good at corruption and that culture has simply been taken into this delicate area.

A few years back, I remember walking away from a job that had been commissioned to us. We were supposed to do an advertising campaign for World Aids Day, but after three meetings, it became very clear that three people in charge of the process were not straghtforward at all.

They hinted at payments that had to be given to them for allowing us the privilege of handling this contract. Soon enough, they came straight out.

When it was apparent that no payment would be made because our company does not believe n paying bribes, we suddenly found these people fighting us, insisiting that certain brochures be printed through specific people.

They claimed this was an attempt to empower small, black-owned companies, but we knew exactly what the game was.

So this is nt a surprise and the state media in highlighting this story, is merely exposing the greed and corruption that has become the mainstay of ZANU PF in power.

It should not surprise them that executives at the Aids body are buying luxury items and going on junkets with taxpayers' money while AIDS patients lie gasping for breath, short of ARVs.

Even after the expose, you can rest assured that NOTHING will be done about the National AIDS Council. No one will be fired. The Board will remain in place. This is because the MDC, who are now in charge of the Health Ministry, are also just like ZANU PF.

Instead of holding these thieves to account, the government department responsible will probably try to get in n the act.

This is the reason I like the Chinese system. These Shylocks would all have been stood up against a wall and shot at dawn like the traitors that they are.

But in Zimbabwe, they will not even get a slap on the wrist.



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