May 18, 2021

MBC to Reinstate 4 Women Sexually Harassed by Sumbuleta

The Malawi Human Rights Commission [the Commission] has made a recommendation in its report that the Board of Malawi Broadcasting Corporation [MBC] should reinstate the four women who were sexually harassed by Mr. Aubrey Sumbuleta during the time he was MBC’s Director General.

The four, Ms. Tadala Mussa, Ms. Lilian Moyo, Ms. Yankho Banda and Ms. Chikondi Phiri, ended up retiring and resigning as MBC employees. The Commission faults the MBC management as liable for failing to have a work place policy for sexual harassment thereby institutionalizing sexual violence thus violating Section 7 of the Gender Equality Act [GEA].

The MHRC has asked MBC to compensate the four women survivors and that they should consider pursuing the matter in court for damages, the Malawi Police to institute investigations under the Gender Equality Act and other penal provisions into the sexual harassment allegations against Mr. Sumbuleta.

The report has also asked the police to further investigate the indecent assault of a minor, Ms. Tadala Mussa who at the time she was sexually harassed by Mr. Sumbuleta, was 15 years under Section 137[2] of the Penal Code for the admittedly sexual relationship between Mr. Sumbuleta and Ms. Tadala Mussa.

The Commission found in its report that the four female ex-employees of MBC were sexually harassed by Mr. Sumbuleta at different occasions and places saying during all these occasion, the sexual harassment happened in his office, describing this as a breach of Section 6 of the Gender Equality Act.

The organization report says all the four complainants testified to having not consented to any sexual relationship with Mr. Sumbuleta either impliedly or expressly, but Mr. Sumbuleta denies in totality all the allegations by the four complainants.

…”The four employees were discriminated based on their gender after turning down the advances of Mr. Sumbuleta, this was evidenced by a narrative of one of the female supervisors and older member of staff Mrs. Eveless Kayanula…,’’ reads the report in part.

The report says the four were transferred, sidelined for promotions and other benefits, such that two of them ended up resigning and this was a clear breach of Section 31 of the Constitution.

By Vincent Gunde 

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