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Lobby group petitions Mugabe for mandatory HIV testing

A LOCAL Aids service organisation has petitioned President Robert Mugabe to flex his Executive powers and declare compulsory HIV testing for all citizens, as a last ditch attempt to halt the spread of the disease.

BY Phyllis Mbanje

The Citizens Aids Survival Trust (Cast) said this drastic action would initiate the process of ending death and destruction of “an entire black human race in sub-Saharan Africa and Zimbabwe in particular”.

The petition, which was signed during a Press conference last Friday, stated that the Constitution empowered Mugabe to curtail certain human liberties for the sole purpose of containing the spread of infectious, contagious and communicable diseases.

“The threat of destruction of our people is the biggest single matter of national interest. The right to safety and security from all manner of threats is enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” the organisation’s executive director, David Chiweza said.

He said Cast had, for the past 27 years, advocated for the institutionalisation of mandatory HIV testing.

In 2013, during a Sadc meeting in Malawi, Mugabe raised a storm when he openly suggested that the region should adopt forced HIV and Aids testing to curb the endemic.

“While there is need to respect rights of individuals, there is need to subject everyone to examinations because those who volunteer are not the ones who have been infected,” Mugabe said then.

Meanwhile, the organisation also petitioned the President to dissolve the entire board of the National Aids Council for failing to come up with effective mitigatory strategies against the disease.

“They are bereft of ideas and have negated their constitutional and legal duty to use the power vested upon them to apply their minds to stopping the spread of HIV,” Chiweza said.

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