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A south african judge leads by his deeds.

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Sheria (The Law Forum)' started by Rutashubanyuma, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

    Sep 25, 2010
    Joined: Sep 24, 2010
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    (BY Rutashubanyuma Nestory)

    It has always been an easier route out when we embrace the war against HIV and AIDS via viva voce but not reflecting in our deeds. We have always sought solace at orating a heart melting homily before a mesmerized audience but rarely do we seize the opportunity to concede that in everyway we are HIV victims – whether personally, at family level or at a community orbit. Whereby in South Africa, an angelic Nelson Mandela had the decency to divulge a family closely guarded secret – That, a son had succumbed to the HIV tragedy, and perished from it. This is a moral epic beyond our public leaders’ decorum. We have to scour no further than Zambia where ex-president Kenneth Kaunda had flashed Mandela’s anti HIV emblems. Again, it has to be in South Africa where a revered Judge has taken the campaign against HIV and AIDS to a new, soaring height by willfully offering himself as an enduring evidence of an HIV victim who overcame stigmatism and official snub to narrate his triumphs. It is a story we need to recite, if we have to stand a chance of rousing our leaders to reveal their personal anguish at the rangy hands of HIV and AIDS – And, thereafter, stultify stigmatism. In 1994, the then Magistrate Edwin Cameron was appointed by the then new South African president Nelson Mandela to the High Court – following the dismantling of apartheid. In 1999, the learned Judge disclosed to the public he was HIV positive at a time he was being considered for the South African highest tribunal, the Constitutional Court. Where expediency would have gagged the good Judge from openly challenging the then South African president Thabo Mbeki over his twisted ideas about the correlation of AIDS and HIV – the Judge did just that, prompting president Mbeki to overlook the advice of South African judicial commission that had recommended Judge Cameron to serve in the Constitutional Court. In those days – please note Mbeki had of lately moderated his views – Mbeki had begun questioning and pouring cold water on the scientific consensus about HIV and AIDS – where it is regarded AIDS is a sexually transmitted disease caused by HIV. Mbeki severally was fulminating: That, those who held such views were motivated by racist stereotypes about randy blackmen! Guided by those distorted dispositions, Mbeki abused his presidential powers when he delayed antiretroviral drugs distribution to treat and prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS – a decision that led to about 365,000 premature deaths according to Harvard University researchers who have recently released their findings. Judge Cameron confrontational stance against his judicial appointer – Mr. Mbeki - led to the delay of his deservedly promotion for years, if not extirpating it altogether. As far as the good Judge was concerned, his conscientious rebellion aura was a moral obligation craning above his judicial ambitions – And the sacrifice he had incurred was worth it. After 4 months since Mr. Mbeki was deposed by his own ANC party for unrelated political mayhems, Judge Cameron became the first Judge to be tapped by Mbeki’s successor – Mr. Motlanthe – to the Constitutional Court. During the Mbeki reign, Judge Cameron was promoted to the Appellate Court despite his HIV status declaration and his morality spat with Mbeki but the learned Judge never sought again to secure an appointment to the Constitutional Court until last year – presuming; until then, his morality clash with Mr. Mbeki over AIDS would ruin his chances. It is a surmise fellow Judges and lawyers are in full concurrence. The good Judge had penned down a memoir “Witness to AIDS” [Tafelberg Publishers, 2005]. In it, he shares his personal traumas of how antiretroviral drugs he had begun swallowing in 1997 had subdued the symptoms of the scourge and timely deferred the revenant of death – a reality he bedaubs as “fetid, frightening and intrusive…” The plight of HIV and AIDS victims is by afar accentuated by societal stigmatism and nothing else can deal that fiend a lasting blow than exemplary honesty and pragmatism ensuing from the public leaders who clasp our fiduciary trust. No sooner our national leaders commence in earnest to truthfully confront and accept the fact that HIV and AIDS have also ravaged them like everyone else – And unless and until those dispositions are freely and willingly displayed in public gallery we have no reason to sigh with satisfaction that stigmatism is cornered, hacked and writhing to a painful death.
    [This writer is a public policy analyst based in Arusha.]