The Zimbabwean government has been sued over the ban on the importation of sex toys.
In a High Court application filed on Thursday, Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (Walpe) executive director Sitabile Dewa sought an order declaring the ban on the importation, possession and or use of sex toys unconstitutional.
Dewa filed the application after a Gwanda State University (GSU) female lecturer was jailed for six months late last year after she imported sex toys from Germany.
Shirley Chapunza was given an option of paying a $60 000 fine to escape the jail term.
The sex toys were seized by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA).
Dewa argued that the criminalisation of the importation of sex toys infringed Chipunza’s rights as the gadgets were therapeutic and good for anyone’s well-being. Dewa said:
In the alternative, I seek a declaration from this court to the effect that devices for personal and private lawful sexual acts (sex toys) are exempt from the application of the aforesaid provisions.
I further aver that in the interests of my sexual and reproductive health, I must engage in some sexual activity. Some form of penetration is key to exercising my pelvic floor muscles and is therapeutic.
Vibrators and other sex enhancing devices are not only toys, but are also therapeutic devices that can be used to attain the highest standards of physical and mental well-being.
Dewa cited ministers Mthuli Ncube (Finance), Ziyambi Ziyambi (Justice), Kazembe Kazembe (Home Affairs), Zimra and the Attorney-General’s Office as respondents, respectively.
She argued that section 61 of the Constitution provides for the right to freedom of expression as well as freedom of thought, opinion and expression regarding sexuality.
Dewa said this section covered the right for a person to express themselves in sexual conduct of their choice.
The Walpe executive director said laws against sex toys were intrusive and an affront to the absolute right to dignity.
She added that the moral indignation and pontification with which the authorities and the courts find sex devices are feigned and hypocritical as these have always been part of our cultural heritage. Dewa argued:
We publicly acknowledge sex devices through the display of similar artefacts in the Great Zimbabwe Museum for the public and international tourists to view. It is an indication that these were designed, possessed, and used by my ancestors.
The openness and the pride with which the sex artefacts are held, is irreconcilable with the position taken in statutes as currently interpreted that such objects stand for moral depravity.
She said the government, by freely distributing condoms, condoned any sexual activity by adults.
According to Dewa, there are many ways that government can regulate sex toys such as putting in place measures where the objects are only accessible to adults through strict licencing methods.
Dewa argued that section 71 of the Constitution entitles her to acquire, hold, use, and dispose of all forms of property as an individual anyhow.
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