ZIFA Sexual harassment probe begins

By Wellington Makonese

INVESTIGATIONS into the alleged sexual exploitation of female referees are now underway with the Zimbabwe Gender Commission being part of the probe.

Following the suspension of the ZIFA board on a litany of allegations including sexual harassment of female referees, some women are understood to have come forward to seek justice.

The Zimbabwe Gender Commission has revealed that some of the women have approached the organisation with evidence, hence investigations are now underway.

Zimbabwe Gender Commission Chairperson, Margaret Mukahanana Sangarwe briefed the media in Harare this Friday on the ground covered so far.

“From the onset, we would want to extol these brave women for opening up on the issues regardless of the stigmatisation and intimidation which usually ensues when such allegations come to the fore,” she said.

“The complaints indicate the prevalence of endemic discrimination and dehumanisation of the women in football refereeing and the entire football sector. While we all hope that the footballing aspects of the dispute will be handled conclusively by the various National, Regional and International structures, it is our endeavour to deal with allegations and commit various duty bearers.

“Therefore, the Zimbabwe Gender Commission is moving in to investigate the said allegations in terms of its constitutional functions as codified on section 246(a-i) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No20) Act 2013 as read with Zimbabwe Gender Commission Act Chapter 10:31 inclusive if International Normative Legal Frameworks affords it competence to investigate possible violations of rights relating to gender.

“The ultimate objective of the process is to ensure that injustices are remedied and the various state and non-state actors involved in the football affairs are directed to put measures for the sanitisation of the footballing sector.”

It is not yet clear how it will have a bearing on FIFA’s suspension of the country from international football, as one of the conditions is the reinstatement of the Felton Kamambo led ZIFA Board.