- Predator?: Tazzen Mandizvidza.
An investigation into the sexual abuse of female staffers at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation has been shelved following the departure of a senior official who was leading the probe, it emerged.
Sources at the state broadcaster told Now Daily that the departure of human resources manageress Benaniah Shumba, who was spearheading the enquiry, had left many of the victims exposed. Some of the women had reported that producers forced them to have sex with them before going on air.
Sources say no one in the current management has the guts to continue with the investigation because it involves very big people such as the editor in chief Tazzen Mandizvidza, who had been named by several women as a perpetrator of sexual harassment against female staffers and interns at the state broadcaster’s Pockets Hill headquarters.
The investigation by Shumba had implicated Mandizvidza, news manager O’brian Rwafa and several other senior officials in the scandal. Only Rwafa was forced to leave the station due to the scandal and he later turned up in public relations at TN Bank.
In a dossier seen by Now Daily prepared for International Women’s Day, staffers pleaded with a women’s group to expose the scandal, saying they had exhausted all avenues in an attempt to get justice.
“It is now very difficult for us to pursue this case because many of the victims have been forced to leave the station. The human resources department is staffed by men and we are uncomfortable to report this abuse to them, unlike in the past when Mrs Shumba was there and it was easier to talk to another woman,” said the report.
Women’s Council director Kate Nhema said there had been a lot of “window-dressing” by ZBC when it brought on a number of female news anchors, bureau chiefs and senior reporters such as Vicky Mlilo, Rumbidzai Takawira, Tracey Sibanda and Marilyn Ngwenya.
“We find it appalling that many of these women were appointed because they are related to Zanu PF politicians or that they made up to someone at ZBC and in the government. Although we have all these women on the news desk, they don’t have any power to influence news coverage in favour of women, which is what they should be doing. All these women are doing is to advance Zanu PF propaganda in the same way as the men who used to occupy those positions,” Nhema said.
She singled out a top television host for making “sexist comments” against a female fellow presenter.
“It is very sexist for this anchor to comment on this woman’s dressing or make-up and to ask her about her personal life on air as he did around Valentine’s Day. You can see that the female anchor is uncomfortable with those questions and there is always tension between the two presenters. Women must not get unwanted attention from men in the workplace and they must be left to do their work without being harassed,” Nhema said.
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