Police in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, on Tuesday arrested a member of parliament for the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Industry Minister Welshman Ncube on a complaint by a female journalist who said he knowingly infected her with HIV.
The unnamed journalist with the state-operated Chronicle newspaper said that when she started going out with lawmaker Siyabonga Malandu Ncube last year, she was HIV-negative, but subsequently tested positive after he broke up with her.
Malandu was arrested after reporting to the Bulawayo Central Police Station with his lawyer. In an interview with VOA before surrendering to the police, Malandu denied the charges, maintaining that the accusation was politically motivated.
Lawyer Mlweli Ncube, representing the MDC legislator, said his client will be arraigned Wednesday. "The police told us they had orders from the top to detain him," Ncube told VOA reporter Ntungamili Nkomo. "And they have just done that."
Nhlanhla Dube, spokesman for the Ncube MDC formation, said the party wants Malandu to be treated fairly.
The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists meanwhile issued a statement condemning what it described as "increasing reports of sexual abuse targeting female journalists," particularly by politicians and business people. "Sexual harassment of female or male journalists will not be tolerated, and the Union will do all in its power to protect its members," it said.
"We would like to warn perpetrators and would be perpetrators to desist from this despicable behavior of preying on female journalists," the union said.