Over the past weeks Alick Macheso has dominated the headlines with his decision to marry a second wife; whose courtship no doubt at some point necessitated that he cheats on his first wife.
I simply cannot see how any man can get to the point of deciding to marry a second wife without having gone via the cheating route i.e to meet, then date, then fall in love and finally make a marital commitment to someone else while you have a spouse at home doesn’t leave one smelling daisy fresh.
I am not a fan of his music and for the greater part of my existence – the man rarely crosses my mind therefore devoting a whole blog entry to discussing him would ordinarily be unwarranted.
However, I recently came across the not-so-funny information that this musician was now preaching the gospel of HIV prevention against the background of his dubious private life high jinks.
What qualifies this man to be entrusted with a life saving message when his own very recent conduct is contrary to the anti-HIV hymn book he now purportedly sings from?
A month ago, one Psychology Maziwisa took it upon himself to ferociously defend Macheso’s right and liberty to marry another wife because as far as he can stretch his powers of reasoning “it is the appeal of his voice not character that has gained him (Macheso) the legions of fans that adore him. Macheso is a celebrated musician not saint.”
Well, I will not argue that point having already admitted that I am not an authority on the man or his music and am therefore not equipped to make an informed or considered critique of Macheso.
But I am sufficiently versed in the discourses surrounding HIV prevention and messaging to wonder how a man who is about marry his own daughter’s friend becomes the best mouth-piece to spread the word?
Haven’t we established, beyond any reasonable doubt, that inter-generational sex is a major driver of HIV infection particularly in this region – and if the age gap between Macheso and his intended bride is not inter-generational; I don’t know what is.
Haven’t we spilt ink debunking the evils of sexual networks and how the practise of having multiple concurrent sexual partners is arguably the highest contributor to new HIV infections, most of which occur in marriages and long-term committed relationships.
Macheso’s lifestyle revolves around the two women in his lives and at some point it is very likely that his wife Mai Sharon was blissfully unaware that her husband was involved with anyone besides her or being intimate with the individual.
A dear friend Fungai Machirori’s commentary on the phenomenon seems an appropriate reference point at this juncture as it succinctly puts across what I am at pains to communicate.
We can reasonably assume that Macheso was not practicing safe sex with his wife (as most married couples who “trust” each other don’t) if the fact that she reportedly suffered a miscarriage not long ago is anything to go by.
And it is plausible that Macheso was not abstaining from having Tafadzwa (the wife-to-be) sate his manly appetites.
I hasten to say there is a lot of conjecture coming into play at this point but when a man with dirty linen hanging out on the line decides to become a detergent salesman – we are forced to wonder why we should buy into his pitch when evidence of his not-so-clean laundry suggests that he’s not practicing what he’s preaching.
I believe there is always a need for more voices to amplify the message of HIV prevention but I am also convinced that the integrity of the message is harmed when it is entrusted to people who are not credible as role models.
So the man is not a saint – fine. But where the hell does he get the crazy idea that he can be an “activist” advocating for HIV prevention when his own life reads like a script out of “The things one should avoid doing to prevent HIV”?
A few months ago, Garikai Muchemwa woefully lamented the “lack of a specific HIV prevention strategy targeting musicians” revealing that as a development practitioner with specific interest in HIV prevention he was “highly disturbed with the issues surrounding Josphat Somanje’s infidelity (he was reportedly caught by his wife in the act with a girlfriend according to H-Metro reports) and Tongai Moyo’s multiple concurrent sexual partnerships”.
He goes to point out that: “barely a week after disclosing his HIV status Tongai Moyo had a domestic dispute with his wife over his intentions of marrying a second wife and there are even some claims that the man impregnated his wife’s young sister. This unfortunately claimed Barbara’s life (Moyo’s wife) as she committed suicide using rat poison.”
But I digress.
What has really been grating at my mind is whether there is any merit in polygamy as a preventive measure for HIV or infidelity? If men were encouraged to marry as many women as they pleased would we witness a decline in HIV prevalence and would we see infidelity drastically reduced to becoming a very rare occurrence?
I ask this because someone hailed Macheso for being “heroic” enough to admit that he is cheating on his wife and will now seek to white-wash that reality by formalizing the relationship with his hitherto “small house”.
What I maintain is that it is not possible for a man to arrive at the destination called polygamy without going through the route called “betraying and cheating on his first wife”.
I only wish to strongly contest, Macheso’s suitability for the role of HIV prevention activist which he appears to have taken up with such shameless gusto.
Is he the real deal?
Mimosa and Action, HIDC (in their combined wisdom or lack thereof) seem to think so.