HIV law challenged

A 42–year-old villager from Sishawe in Mbembesi who is accused of deliberately infecting his wife with HIV yesterday asked a Bulawayo magistrate to refer his case to the Supreme Court arguing the charges infringed on his rights.

Report by Staff Reporter
Pitty Mpofu, who is represented by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights Lawyer Nosimilo Chanayiwa, was not asked to plead to the charge of deliberately infecting his wife with the virus when he appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Learmore Mapiye yesterday.

The case was remanded to September 28 when the State is expected to respond to the application.

Mpofu is out of custody on free bail.

Chanayiwa yesterday confirmed that they were seeking a determination of the constitutionality of Section 79 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act under which the accused is being charged at the Supreme Court.

“We are saying this section discriminates against people with HIV and by so doing it violates their rights,” she said. “The State is expected to respond on September 28.”

Mpofu is alleged to have deliberately infected his wife Geziwe Ncube with HIV, the virus that causes Aids.  It is the State’s case that Mpofu committed the offence between October 2009 and June 2011 during the course of their marriage.

The court heard that Ncube went for an HIV test at a local hospital after a month into their marriage where she discovered she was HIV positive. She informed her husband and advised him to go for testing as well, but Mpofu allegedly turned down the advice.

The court heard that Mpofu eventually went for the test in 2010 when he fell sick and the results confirmed he was also HIV positive.

It is alleged his wife received numerous phone calls from different women advising her to inform her husband to stop “going around spreading HIV”.
This, according to the State, led the wife to strongly believe that her husband had deliberately infected her with HIV, prompting her to make a report to the police, leading to Mpofu’s arrest.

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