Health minister David Parirenyatwa has been accused of stuffing the National Aids Council Board (NAC) board with family friends and relatives.
The minister dismissed the allegations as malicious and unfair but failed to provide any paper trail to prove he does not abuse the discretion accorded to him at law in appointing members of the Aids Levy fund managing organisation’s board.
The issue was raised when Parirenyatwa appeared before the Health Committee chaired by Prince Dubeko Sibanda this Wednesday.
Sibanda said the committee was told that the NAC board was “full of women who go to the minister’s church, his friends and wife’s” during a recent stakeholder meeting in Harare.
“There are no relatives or friends of my wife in the board. It’s very very malicious, it’s not fair, it’s not right,” Parirenyatwa refuted the accusation.
According to him, the board members are retired doctor Evaristo Marowa, retired nurse Virginia Samkange, doctor Josiah Tayi, lawyer Chagwiza Togarepi, trade unionist Kenias Shamuyarira, retired doctor Josephine Chiware, church representative Tanyanyiwa Chinyerere, HIV activist Stanley Takaona, HIV activist Bernadette Chimsoro, HIV activist Tariro Chikumbirike, traditional healer Beauty Nyoni and youths representative Nyasha Sithole.
Also sitting in the board as an ex-officio member is Health secretary Gerald Gwinji and NAC chief executive Tapiwa Magure.
Parirenyatwa said the appointments were guided by law which he complained to be too broad and silent on the criteria further claiming his ministry is hoping the Corporate Governance bill will fill the grey areas.
“I would be worried to know my wife is befriending all these people. I had included Angeline Chiwetani but a letter came to say no from organisations working in the HIV sector. I am still looking at the six names they then sent,” he said.
He was also quizzed on appointing spent forces in the name of experience.
“As much as we respect experience, I have seen that there is a reasonable number of retired health practitioners but others would argue that you are bringing in ideas that have literally expired at the expense of new and fresh kind of ideas,” said Sibanda.
HIV activist Tendai Westerhoff is among those named to have raised reservations on the manner in which the minister appoints the board.
Legislators queried Parirenyatwa’s unwritten recommendations in justifying the criteria which he claimed involved consultations with both the affected and infected.
“It would help if he had one or two written recommendations but he has zero,” said legislator Ndlovu.