The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Women Blast MDC-T's Femai

WOMEN'S organisations and HIV and AIDS activists yesterday blasted MDC-T Senator for Chikomo, Morgan Femai, for his "misguided and clue-less" utterances that women should always have bald heads, shun bathing and dress shabbily as part of measures to curb the spread of HIV.

They want Senator Femai to unconditionally withdraw his utterances.

The Chikomo senator made the remarks last Friday while addressing Zimbabwean Parliamentarians in Kadoma.

He also said HIV was spreading at an alarming rate as men find it difficult to resist attractive and well-dressed women.

Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association communications officer Ms Merit Runema yesterday said Sen Femai's statements showed how "immature" some legislators were.

This, she said, was a reflection that most people, including legislators, lacked knowledge on HIV and AIDS issues in the country.

"As an organisation we are disheartened to read that someone elected to represent people can utter such words.

"It's a reflection and conceptualisation of HIV issues in society and it is clear the Senator does not know how HIV spreads," she said.

Ms Runema said HIV needed a holistic approach.

"(Sen) Femai's arguments are the ones used by rapists. This sought of blame game is immature.

"We thought we had made great strides in HIV issues but the lawmaker has shown us that more needs to be done," she said.

HIV and AIDS activist Tendai Westerhof said Sen Femai was violating women's rights.

"This is worrisome, considering that the words are coming from a leader in society. This is violating women rights and it will also lead to gender-based violence as well as domestic violence."

Gender Activist Betty Makoni said Sen Femai should withdraw his statement.

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