Gender commission investigates Zifa sexual abuse reports

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BY JULIA NDLELA
THE Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) has said it will be  launching investigations of sexual harassment  and exploitation of women in the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa).

The development follows claims by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) that some members of the suspended Zifa executive committee led by Felton Kamambo were sexually abusing female referees.

The claim formed part of the charges laid against the Zifa board members which were submitted to the world soccer governing body, Fifa. The sports regulatory body went on to suspend the Zifa board, a move that eventually triggered the suspension of Zimbabwe from the international football family.

ZGC chairperson Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe last Friday applauded the victims for stepping up regardless of the stigmatisation.

“The facts indicate the prevalence of gender rights violations like sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation and sextortion in form of sex for selection, such conduct hinders female participation and performance in sport,” she said

“As a constitutional body mandated to ensure compliance with gender equality values within all the spheres of socio-economic activity; we take these allegations seriously,” Mukahanana-Sangarwe said.

She added that the complaints indicated widespread discrimination and dehumanisation of women within the football sector.

“Creation of safe spaces for women and girls to participate without fear of being a prey, discrimination and dehumanization by predators who are powerful figures is key to the achievement of gender equality,” the ZGC chair said.

In partnership with International Labour Organisation, the commission is launching investigations to develop a strategy for the elimination of sexual harassment and GBV in the workplace in Zimbabwe.

The commission is investigating the allegations in terms of the Constitutional functions as codified in section 246(a-i) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment(No.20) Act 2013 as read together with part (iii) of the Zimbabwe Gender Commission Act Chapter 10:31.

The ZGC boss said the objective of the probe is to ensure injustices are alleviated and measures put in place to ensure a safe working space for women.

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