Zimbabwe: Govt to Decriminalise HIV Transmission

HIV testing.
21 March 2019

Government is set to repeal a legal provision that criminalises transmission of HIV/AIDS to a partner in order to keep abreast with international standards, Parliament heard yesterday.

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said the new amendments would be incorporated in the Marriages Amendment Bill which is at drafting stage.

He said this in the National Assembly during a question-and- answer session yesterday after Zengeza West legislator Mr Job Sikhala (MDC-Alliance) had asked if Government was considering amending the law which criminalise transmission of HIV/AIDS.

"When this legislation came into effect, the thinking then was that we need to control the spread of HIV by criminalising those who transmit it to partners willingly. But the global thinking now is that that law stigmatises people living with HIV/AIDS and studies have shown that it does not produce the results that were intended. What the Ministry is going to do is to repeal that section of the law and ensure that we keep up to speed with modern trends in the world," said Minister Ziyambi.

Asked on the timeframe when he envisaged to make amendments, Minister Ziyambi said: "I have acknowledged that we are going to do that and we are perhaps looking at introducing that amendment through the Marriages Amendment Bill that is to come. That is the fastest way to do it."

Responding to another question, Minister Ziyambi said it was high time that Government promulgated a law that criminalised calling of sanctions against one's country.

Buhera West legislator, Cde Soul Nzuma (Zanu-PF) had asked what Government policy regarding legislators that would go to Western capitals calling for sanctions against Zimbabwe.

"That is a human rights issue. While we have no specific policy on that but probably it is high time we have a policy on that," said Minister Ziyambi.

Regarding prisons, Minister Ziyambi said Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services was moving towards rehabilitating jailed offenders.

He said that entailed allowing inmates that were not dangerous to have open prison system where they would occasionally be allowed to visit their homes.

Norton legislator Mr Temba Mliswa had asked what Government policy was regarding conferring conjugal rights to prisoners.

He said there were reports claiming that former Bikita West legislator, Munyaradzi Kereke had impregnated his wife while serving his 14-year jail time for raping a minor.

Speaker of the National Assembly directed that Mr Mliswa put his question in writing giving adequate information regarding other parts of his question.

Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavima said corporal punishment would be banned if the Education Amendment Bill that is before Parliament sails through.

Responding to a question from a backbencher, Minister Mavima said other disciplinary measures would be pursued.

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