Swazi MP blames the devil for suggesting ‘branding’ people with HIV
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 ‘compulsory to test for HIV’ and that people testing positive should be ‘branded on the buttocks’.
‘The 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.
‘We 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.
‘It 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 ‘branded’ 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.
‘There 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.