Chikwawa: Chikwawa District Labour Office has ruled out that there was no sexual harassment at Plem Construction Company in the district where two women were accusing an official of the same.
Previously, Malawi News Agency (Mana) reported that two women who granted an interview on condition of anonymity said they failed to secure jobs from the company after they refused to sleep with Plem Construction Limited Indian Site Engineer, Mani Maran, who is leading the construction of a multi-billion Kwacha Mwanza Bridge in Chikwawa.
The women claimed that the incident occurred on May 16, 2018 when the clerk at the construction site, Innocent Kabango told them to first sleep with the engineer before being employed.
In an interview with Mana on Thursday, the district’s Labour Officer, Austin Kamanula said when his office invited the two parties to a hearing, they noticed lack of evidence to prove there was demand of sexual favours from the women in exchange for job opportunity.
As labour office, we indeed received the issue that there was an alleged sexual harassment at the construction company working on Chapananga Bridge but because we didn’t know the truth behind it, we had to call for both parties.
During our discussions on Monday, we failed to establish issues surrounding sexual harassment which was reported by the two women. There was no evidence which could lead someone to say indeed sexual harassment happened, said Kamanula.
He, however, explained that his office found out that one forced labour case was established where one of the women worked in a toilet without safety kit.
This is what we are currently working on to make sure that she receives her compensation as per labour laws, added Kamanula.
Speaking at their residence, one of the affected women, Salome Chikaonda from Galonga Village under Senior Chief Chapananga said she took up the matter in order to see justice taking its course.
Chikaonda, who looked concerned, added that she was not convinced with the way the issue had been handled, saying the results would likely stop other would-be victims from reporting such abuses happening in most work places.
I don’t know how one expects to see evidence where there is sexual harassment? I am the witness because that happened to me. All I can say is the truth of what happened on that particular day. But since officials in the case say they can’t unearth the truth of the matter, I rest my case, she said.
Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) Project Officer for Chikwawa District, Cecilia Banda said one of their core duties was to ensure that communities are aware of their rights and link them to possible service providers.
When they meet such people, they should be able to receive the required assistance. We are very much pleased as an organization that when these women experienced what happened, they tried to expose the dirt, she said.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA