Gender Commission Toothless ?
6 June 2023
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The Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC), a Constitutional body whose key mandate is to investigate violations of rights relating to gender equality is under fire from the public for remaining mum in the wake of allegations that a Government Minister has been demanding sex from a disadvantaged university student whose fees he is paying.

Minister of State for Agricultural Colleges, Water Resources and Irrigation Development, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Davis Marapira sponsored the intelligent National University of Science and Technology (NUST) girl since she was doing Form 5 at Zimuto High near Masvingo.

However, he allegedly started demanding sex from the girl when she was in Form 6 and putting pressure on her by sending threatening messages, according to WhatsApp exchanges in the hands of The Mirror.

The First Year Biotech student who cannot be named for ethical reasons has since opted out of Marapira’s education scheme as she feared for her life. The Minister is allegedly in the habit of inviting her to his hotel room at night whenever he visits Bulawayo. The last time was in April when he was in the city for the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF).

Marapira who comes from the same constituency as the girl would also call the girl from her rural home to meet him at night. Marapira promised to call back The Mirror for comment but never did.

Readers have been inundating The Mirror with calls trying to find out what the Gender Commission and women organisations in Zimbabwe’s positions on the matter is.

The Mirror called ZGC CEO Virginia Muwanigwa who said that her organisation is investigating the matter.

The girl however said she has not been contacted by the Commission although it is now six weeks after the case of sexual abuse went public. It is not clear how the Commission would conduct investigations without involving the complainant.

Experts said ZGC runs the risk of becoming a toothless bulldog in a country where abuse of women is rampant particularly by politicians and the powerful.

“We are investigating the matter and we will be updating you ”, said Muwanigwa.Female Students Network Trust executive director Evernice Munando said Government should intervene as the ‘abuse’ of women particularly by politicians and the powerful is being swept under the carpet… Masvingo Mirror