Following President Edgar Lungu’s declaration of mandatory HIV testing for all citizens who seek any form of medical treatment, Zambians have turned to social media to make fun of the government policy.
Announcing the decision when he launched the HIV Testing, Counseling and Treatment Day (HTCT) on August 16, 2017, President Lungu said the move was meant to end AIDS in Zambia by 2030.
“The Patriotic Front government under my leadership has embarked on a transformative shift from emphasizing HIV voluntary counseling and testing to HIV testing and treatment. Just yesterday when we sat in Cabinet, we had this subject HIV testing and treatment, I must confess that there are some colleagues who felt that this is contrary to Human Rights and rights to privacy. My position was that ‘no one has got a right to take his own life’,” said President Lungu.
“So just like we test for malaria, we don’t consult you to consent whether you should be tested for malaria or not, we will do the same with HIV and AIDS. We will counsel you and tell you that you have got this problem, you need to embark on treatment. That is the position of Zambia and its official, no debate about it.”
While civil society organisations and government stakeholders joined the Human Rights Commission in condemning the declaration, Zambians circulated various memes, pocking fun at the announcement.
“The Ministry of health has partnered with the National Road Fund Agency to conduct mandatory HIV testing at toll gates #NowhereToRun,” posted one Facebook user.
Another one posted: “Govt has also partnered with Hungry Lion, while you wait for your Chicken Big Bite, Tipima”.
Other Social media posts included pictures of politicians being mocked as well as the portrait of Dr Ludwig Sondashi (who claims his herbal medicine cures AIDS) as the most searched name on google.