By Audience Mutema
SENIOR government officials have been accused of protecting perpetrators of sexual abuse in the civil service as pressure mounts on new Registrar General (RG) Clemence Masango.
Masango was appointed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in September last year, despite being at the centre of a storm over workplace sexual harassment while still a principal director in the same department.
The allegations are being probed by a Parliamentary committee as well as the Zimbabwe Gender Commission.
A former director in the department, Nkosana Mtunzi, told a press conference in Harare Tuesday that Masango was also guilty of several other labour malpractices.
He claimed that Permanent Secretaries were covering up the outrages, adding that this explained Masango’s promotion despite the serious allegations levelled against him.
“How can somebody with all these issues hanging over him, with cases before the Commission and Parliament still get promoted?
“ … that you are now the Registrar General, that means somebody – perhaps the permanent secretary – might have recommended him to the President,” said Mthunzi.
Masango, who is accused with two other department officials, has denied the allegations.
He is due to appear before the gender commission this Wednesday.
“I would like to make it clear and set the record straight with regards to the allegations of sexual harassment,” the RG said in a statement ahead of the Commission hearing.
“I was informed and given 14 days’ notice to appear before a Gender Commission. I have nothing to hide or fear, so as per the communication from the commission tomorrow (today), I will appear before them to testify.
“On my appointment, firstly I did not appoint myself, neither was I the appointing authority. The appointing authority was the President. He has been appointing me on merit over the years.”
Meanwhile, Mthunzi said he believed the government was sincere in addressing labour malpractices in the civil service but was being undermined in the effort by some top officials.
“Government has good intentions but they are been manipulated by the people in the system who recommend people who are dirty, who are not clean like Masango,” he said.
“For one to be appointed in the government, some recommendations would have been done from somewhere and background checks.
“… but in this (Masango’s case) they decided to ignore everything because they have their own agenda.
“It is a mafia; they are afraid of getting caught so they have to protect the likes of Masango.”