$400 000 circumcision lawsuit….Family sues over unsanctioned son’s foreskin removal
By Gibson Mhaka
A Bulawayo couple is suing the Minister of Health and Child Care and Population Services International (PSI) Zimbabwe for allegedly depriving their 10-year-old son “the pleasure of natural and normal sexual intercourse” after they circumcised him without their consent.
Thando Mukwevho and Shooter Ngwenya filed their suit on 9 August at the Bulawayo High Court under case number HC 2175/ 18 citing PSI Zimbabwe and Minister of Health and Child Care as the 1st and 2nd respondents respectively.
They claimed the two defendants circumcised their minor child born on the 8th of July 2007 without their consent as the biological parents.
Ironically, given the choice, the couple would apparently choose to keep their son’s foreskin.
According to the lawsuit, the circumcision was done without their blessing and as a result they demanded a payment of the sum of four hundred thousand United States Dollars (US$400 000) being damages arising from the defendants’ alleged wrongful and unlawful conduct which resulted in plaintiffs’ minor child who does not have legal capacity to be circumcised without their consent.
“On the 8th of August 2017, members of staff from the Population Services International Zimbabwe visited Mawaba Primary School on a circumcision exercise. They proceeded to circumcise the plaintiffs’ minor child born on the 8th of July 2007 without the consent from the plaintiffs as the biological parents of the minor child.
“The plaintiffs’ child being only 10 years old was unable to consent to the circumcision unless with the consent of the biological parents. The father of the child in question is his natural legal guardian hence for the circumcision to be lawful his consent was needed,” reads the suit in part.
As a result of the circumcision, the couple claimed their child was also repugnant to their traditional norms and values as the practice is regarded as a taboo.
“This dilemma is further deepened by the cultural connotation associated with the foreskin of a member of the family. Now that the foreskin of the plaintiffs’ child has been removed and cannot be recovered, it has caused untold divisions and disturbances in the plaintiff’s family.
“The circumcision of the minor child has also caused a permanent disability on his person as the process is irreversible. Consequently, the conduct of the defendants’ employees whether by action or by omission has irretrievably caused the plaintiffs and their minor child to being an outcast in their family”.
In their declaration of the claim, the couple said PSI Zimbabwe was vicariously liable for the wrongful and negligent conduct of its employees which it identified and sent to Mawaba Primary School premises where they proceeded to circumcise their minor child without their consent.
They further claimed the Ministry of Health and Child Care was also liable because they jointly run the circumcision programme with PSI Zimbabwe being its implementing partner.
As a result of the alleged wrongful and negligent conduct the couple said they suffered general damages for pain and suffered discomfort, psychological trauma, disfigurement, stress, loss of enjoyment of amenities of life in the total sum of $400 000 which they prayed for an order to be paid to them.
The two defendants (PSI Zimbabwe and Minister of Health and Child Care) were given 10 days to respond to the suit. – B-Metro