Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Principal in sexual harassment storm

By Danisa Masuku

Westgate Industrial Training College principal Juma Banda has been accused of allegedly victimising a student and a female subordinate for turning down his sexual advances.

Juma Banda
Juma Banda

A woman staff member who worked in the catering department had to resign in a huff after she could not bear the harassment.

Banda has also been fingered by a female student, Lungile Mtshede, over alleged victimisation after the woman allegedly turned down his sexual advances.

Mtshede said victimisation started after she turned down Banda’s advances during the first term this year. The woman said she initially did not tell her husband as she respected the principal as her superior “but it seems you continue to fight me that is why I have decided to expose you”.

“I’m a student at the learning institution. Before I went for attachment Banda proposed love and I told him that I could not fall in love with him because I’m a married woman. He insisted that we have to fall in love but I maintained my stance. After that he started to abuse me,” she said.

She said while she was on attachment she would go to the college to consult her lecturer but Banda would fume at her.

“He would get angry saying I’m trespassing and I’m not supposed to consult my lecturer because I’m on attachment,” she said.

She also noted in her written complaint that Banda accused her of consulting lecturers about preparations for practical trade tests, an allegation she denied.

Mtshede went on to say the abuse went a gear up.

“When I was on holiday at my rural home in Tsholotsho on 08 August this year, I was summoned to come to the college by Banda through his secretary. When I told her that I’m in Tsholotsho she insisted that I must come without fail. I then went to the college and he harassed me with unprintable words.

“I would like to inform you that I’m not a prostitute. I told you that I’m married but you kept on proposing to me.

“After turning down your love proposals you decided to fix me since I’m a student at your college. In conclusion I would like to inform you that I have taken another copy of sexual harassment to your superiors for their consideration.

“On 13 October 2019 I met you outside Administration block and greeted you as my principal but instead you frowned at me because I did not entertain your advances,” read a letter which was copied to Banda and acting Head of Department for electrical (T. Chikotsi) and a deputy director TEP (Higher Education. B-Metro is in possession of the letter in which the woman sought to be reimbursed her travel expenses for having been summoned from Tsholotsho allegedly for unclear reasons.

The initial refund letter was written on 9 August 2019 and a final demand of the $349 in expenses is dated 16 October 2019.

A woman who was working in the catering department said when she turned down Banda’s sexual advances her life became unbearable at the learning institution.

“I had a torrid time at the hands of Banda after I turned down his love proposal. He would accuse me for no apparent reason. As a way of tormenting me he ordered me to stop working from the canteen and said I would have to clean toilets. I had to resign because I could not bear the harassment,” she said.

When contacted for a comment Banda terminated the call after this reporter introduced himself. After that his mobile number went unanswered. B-Metro