By Mugove Tafirenyika
A female legislator sensationally claimed in Parliament on Thursday afternoon that two male lawmakers were in the habit of sexually harassing her, along with another female Member of Parliament.
MDC’s Manicaland proportional representation MP, Lynette Karenyi–Kore made the stunning allegations on Thursday, forcing the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda to institute an investigation against two Zanu PF lawmakers, Tafanana Zhou (Mberengwa North) and John Paradza (Gutu West).
Just as all the MPs, journalists and visitors who were in Parliament sat quietly waiting for Finance minister Mthuli Ncube to announce the 2019 National Budget yesterday, Karenyi-Kore stood on a point of order to make sensational claims that she, along with Joana Mamombe (Harare West), had been sexually harassed.
“The moves and utterances by some of the Members of Parliament and I am going to shame them… Tafanana Zhou and… Paradza, on the body features of female Members of
Parliament, to me it is sexual harassment,” Karenyi-Kore said.
“As female Members of Parliament, we take such moves as disrespectful, we are not sexual objects but we are Members of Parliament and we deserve respect.
“Our male counterparts should treat us with respect because we are mothers and we are Members of Parliament. We should feel free to stand up and debate without being given or being labelled as we are not wives of such Members of Parliament. This sexual harassment continues each and every day when we step into this Parliament,” she fumed.
Karenyi-Kore said she had been courageous to stand up because she is a woman representative in her party where she is women’s assembly
“It took me courage to stand up as a woman. I represent women out there and my presence here is encouraging other women to stand up and fight for our space but I have realised that if I do not say this out, not most of the women can stand up and speak.
“I have received reports from my fellow colleagues that they are also receiving this same sexual harassment and I strongly feel that there is a difference between heckling and sexual harassment,” she said, while calling on Mudenda to investigate the Zanu PF MPs for violating the constitutional protection of women and for unparliamentary behaviour.
“I strongly feel that this must be investigated because it is happening and to myself and other Members of Parliament. We need respect. I understand and I know very well that you respect us and so, we also want them to respect us”.
In making his ruling, Mudenda acknowledged that the issue that had been raised was a serious matter hence “I do not invite debate but there are two levels of approach”.
“The first level is that where the occurrence takes place the matter should be reported to the police,” Mudenda said adding that “the second level is administrative”.
“I will therefore study the matter and use our own systems to find out the truth of the matter and then act accordingly,” he ruled. Daily News.