By Anna Chibamu
A RECENT Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) probe into sexual harassment claims against some top Immigration bosses by their female subordinates has revealed that there are inadequate legal protection mechanisms for women in workplaces.
The report established that existing laws such as Labour Act and the Public Service Regulations do not comprehensively cover the issue of sexual harassment in and out of the workplace.
The ZGC says the legal gap was contributing to the perpetuation of sexual harassment against vulnerable female employees.
The Commission called for specific legislation to criminalise sexual harassment as well as sentences on perpetrators.
“The Commission’s findings point to a culture of workplace violence at the Department of Immigration and a laissez faire approach to protection of women from violence in the workplace by the parent Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, and Public Service Commission.
“It is our hope as a Commission that a combination of strengthened legislative measures, public awareness on sexual harassment and punishment of offenders can eventually result in a gender-just society which protects and promotes women’s rights,” said Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe, ZGC chairperson.
The report by the ZGC comes after some former Immigration employees had sued their bosses, Steven Phineas Museki, Amire Herbert Makani and Godfrey Kondo as well as their employers Department of Immigration, Home Affairs Ministry and Public Service Commission who were listed as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th respondents respectively.
Coincidentally, women MPs from MDC have also made sexual harassment complaints by their male counterparts from the ruling Zanu PF party.