Saturday, 2 July 2016


THIRTY-ONE percent of paternity tests done at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) over the past 15 months came out negative. This exposes some women as cheats who try to force men to raise kids that are not biologically theirs. The DNA profiling tests, also known as genetic fingerprinting were done at the Bulawayo university’s Applied Genetics Testing Centre (AGTC) between April, 2015 and last month.

DNA testing is the most advanced and accurate technology to determine parentage.
Nust’s AGTC chairperson Mr Zephaniah Dhlamini said a total of 42 paternity tests were done during the period. “The outcomes revealed that there were 29 inclusions meaning the father was positive and 13 exclusions where the results between the father and child were negative. This means 31 percent of the people who were said to be fathers in disputed cases, were not. The paternity test costs $100 per head, so if we’re testing the father, mother and the child the total cost for the tests will be $300,” said Mr Dhlamini.

Doing DNA profiling at Nust costs significantly less than what Zimbabweans pay to have it done outside the country.
A lawyer said it costs about $500 for couples to take their blood samples to South Africa for the test.

Mr Dhlamini said it takes about eight hours to arrive at the results of paternity tests.
“However, it’s more cost effective to do the tests in larger batches. So we’ve resorted to conducting them every two weeks.
“This implies that if you’re lucky and be the last person to submit your samples you can get the required results within 24 hours,” he said.

Nust’s AGTC comes as a relief to some men who were forced to take their samples to South Africa for the test at higher cost.

Historian and social commentator Mr Pathisa Nyathi said some men who fail to raise money to pay for DNA tests might be maintaining other men’s children.

“There are many men who think that they’re parents when they aren’t. They’re many social fathers with social children. This only proves the cultural aspect that says the only person who knows who the father of a child is, is the mother,” said Mr Nyathi.

He said paternity testing is not a new phenomenon as it has always been done traditionally although it was very dangerous.

“Traditionally the child was taken through rituals where they’ll be given some traditional concoction to drink. The father’s family who did the test believed that if the child was one of theirs he/she wouldn’t die after going through the ritual process. But if the child died they won’t be from within that family,” he said.

He said some women chickened out on taking their children through the ritual process.
“This led to their children being called ivezandlebe (children whose paternity is not certain),” said Mr Nyathi.

A local gender activist said women were sometimes forced by “circumstances beyond their control” to cheat.

“We admit that there are women who deliberately cheat men but we must consider that it’s the same men who impregnate women and then deny responsibility. Women who find themselves in this situation can try tricking another man to raise the child considering the costs involved in raising children,” she said.

“We call upon men to be responsible enough and never put women in situations where they’ve to lie to another man to secure a child’s livelihood. Sometimes they fear the social stigma attached to ‘fatherless’ children.” chronicle


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