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Swazi MP blames the devil for suggesting ‘branding’ people with HIV

Written by Health-e News

Swazi Member of Parliament and gospel singer, Pastor Timothy Myeni, has blamed the devil for suggesting at an MPs’€™ workshop, that there should be a law making it ‘€œcompulsory to test for HIV’€ and that people testing positive should be ‘€œbranded on the buttocks’€.

‘€œThe devil has trapped me so that he celebrates that, from a Christian, such an uncalled for statement has come out. I am very sincere. I am very sorry.   I understand very well that this was a blunder’€, said Pastor Myeni at a media conference, in Johannesburg.  

He was forced to call a media conference to retract his statements and to make a public apology after the enraged Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) threatened to disrupt his concerts, which were due to be held in Cape Town, South Africa.  

‘€œWe accept the apology from Mr Myeni. We would like him to commit to publicly apologising in Swaziland and wherever he will be going in public forums’€, said Lefa Tlhame, the TAC’€™s Gauteng Co-ordinator, after the Gospel-preaching Swazi MP had made his apology.

Although he apologised, he insisted that he was misquoted by the media.

‘€œIt now turns from a question to a statement, as if I was in parliament lobbing my colleagues to make a law that will make it compulsory for every Swazi citizen to test for HIV and AIDS ‘€“ and whosoever has tested (positive) should   be branded at the buttocks. The word ‘€œbranded’€ has never come out from my mouth. I don’€™t deny that I did ask that question but it was not a statement. But then, these are the things that I have come here to withdraw. They did not mean to infringe with their (PLWHAs) human rights’€, said Pastor Myeni.

But the TAC’€™s Policy, Communication and Research Officer in Gauteng, Nokhwezi Hoboyi, who lives with HIV openly, remains baffled by Myeni’€™s utterances.  

‘€œThere are infants who get infected in the womb or during birth. Does he want HIV-positive infants to be branded also? What does he say about rape survivors?’€, asked Hoboyi.

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