Ministers differ over circumcision call

Deputy Prime Minister, Thokozani Khupe recently suggested that government ministers should lead by example and go for male circumcision as a way of encouraging other men to follow suit.

Khupe also said as a way of getting ministers to understand the benefits of male circumcision in curbing the spread of HIV, her office had invited experts from a South African health institution to demonstrate the exercise.

The DPM also reportedly said it had been resolved that ministers, MPs and councillors would undergo male circumcision if the aims of reducing the transmission of HIV and Aids were to be a reality.

NewsDay spoke to different Cabinet ministers about the issue. Some embraced the idea, but others rubbished it.

Jameson Timba – Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office

The initiative by Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe to say ministers should lead by example and go for male circumcision as a way to curb the spread of HIV is commendable.

I would go for it myself and I believe that ministers are role models and if they were to go for male circumcision, it would encourage more males in Zimbabwe to follow suit.

Moses Mzila Ndlovu – Co-minister in the Organ of National Healing, Reconciliation and Intergration in the President’s Office

I think this is part of MDC-T bilge that was first championed by Matobo Senator Sithembile Mlotshwa who once said that men must be vaccinated against high levels of sexual libido and now this kind of debate is being taken up by Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe.

I thought this was really bizarre, but we are saying look, in as much as we have to subscribe to the notion of male circumcision, I do not personally believe in it and my children will not be circumcised.

I am sure in other countries women get circumcised and DPM Khupe must sacrifice herself first and have her organ mutilated. She must also say women in turn should also be circumcised in this manner before asking the male counterparts to do that.

It is the same as that we have male condoms but now we also have female condoms.

That is the only way this project might work because right now I think it is an unbalanced demand.

If you have to coerce me to do it, then you will be violating my personal right on my body. This is part of the madness connected to people without ideas but who want to remain relevant. It is such a sad thing, especially coming from Matabeleland, where instead of focusing on issues that help people, they focus on useless things.

If Khupe were to insist on faithfulness, I would agree with her, instead of suggesting weird ideas.
Obert Chaurura Gutu – Deputy Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs

I would like to applaud Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe for coming up with such a brilliant and novel initiative. Because government ministers are public figures and role models in more ways than one, they should always lead by example.

Scientific studies have clearly proved that male circumcision is one of the most effective tools to fight HIV and Aids transmission. Over and above male circumcision, all people, including public figures, should be sexually responsible and always practise safe sex.

I humbly urge all male government ministers who are not yet circumcised to promptly accept DPM Khupe’s offer. I would have taken up her offer immediately, but then I was circumcised more than 10 years ago.

Didymus Mutasa – Minister of State for Presidential Affairs in the President’s Office

That might be a good idea in the Deputy Prime Minister’s opinion, but it is something that she should discuss with other ministers before making a suggestion since she meets with them every Tuesday in Cabinet.

She has now already expressed her own opinion about the issue, but I as an individual do not agree with her opinion. Firstly, the whole idea is taboo to Shona people as our customs are against that and I do not think it will be welcome amongst Shona males.

I have never heard of it and this would be the first time it would be practised if it happens. I remember that they tried it in India and their government even chased males on the streets to force them to go for circumcision.

I do not want to picture the same thing happening in Zimbabwe where men get chased on the street so that they get circumcised.

It should be a voluntary thing and those men who want to be circumcised should go for it, but those who do not want that must not be forced to do so.
In respect to HIV, that can be prevented using other methods and it might be inappropriate to say men must be circumcised to achieve HIV prevention.

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