Zimbabwe Gender Commission acting chairperson Mr Paul Kadzima yesterday said they have set up a commission of inquiry to conduct hearings into allegations of sexual harassment being levelled against former Immigration Department officials.
The alleged cases of abuse were reported to the Gender Commission former employees. "In terms of the Gender Commission Act, we felt it was necessary to set up a commission to sexual pestering issues at Immigration Department," he said.
Commissioner Victor Nkiwane said they had set up the commission of inquiry to bring the perpetrators to justice and to end sexual harassment within the department.
"We felt it was necessary to institute investigations into sexual harassment cases at the department of Immigration, in terms of the Gender Commission Act, especially section 5. We published a notice in the Gazette to indicate that we were to institute investigation and calling upon anybody who has a complaint or information against the cited respondents should come forward,"
"The respondents were informed and given a 14 days' notice to prepare and appear before this commission," he said.
Comm Nkiwane said six people had approached them to report cases of sexual harassment against Immigration Department officials. He said by yesterday they had finished dealing with all the preliminary stages of the investigation.
"Today (yesterday) we had done all the initial ground work to institute the inquiry, a respondent came and when we were about to start he requested for time to look for legal representation and we gave him an opportunity to do so, so the hearings will begin on Wednesday (tomorrow)," he said.
Comm Nkiwane said at the proceedings, the complainants would be allowed to give evidence in the presence of the respondents to avoid bias.
Further, Comm Nkiwane called upon witnesses to any acts of sexual harassment within the Department of Immigration to furnish the Zimbabwe Gender Commission with written complaints, witnesses' statements and any other supporting documents or evidence which can assist in the investigation as quickly as possible.
The Registrar-General Mr Clemence Masango, who was the Principal Director in the Immigration Department when the allegations arose is expected to testify before the commission alongside former officials Nkosana Mtunzi, Peter Kufakunesu Chirume, Aaron Togarepi, Robert Williams, Sheila Moyo, Emily Nyadziso Mupeti and Lydpa Munhanga.