By Michael Mashiri
ActionAid Zimbabwe (AAZ) has called for an end to violence against women and girls in public transport, particularly in the cities of Harare and Chitungwiza.
At a workshop organised by AAZ that was held in the Central Business District of Harare today, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Gender Commission Mrs Virginia Muwanigwa said violence against women was becoming rife in Zimbabwe as it was now perpetrated everywhere.
Mrs Muwanigwa also urged people to be responsible citizens by adhering to the dictates of the Constitution of Zimbabwe so as to ensure the eradication of violence against women in public transport.
“Violence against women is increasing in our societies, in the streets, in the commuter omnibuses and everywhere.
“The people should be responsible citizens by adhering to the constitution of Zimbabwe and The Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act that have laws which protect women from violence in public transport.
“Section 52 of the Constitution for instance states that ‘Every person has the inherent dignity in their private life and the right to have that dignity respected and protected,” she said.
This follows the continuous violence against women and the deaths of people at the hands of touts as they try to board public transport.
A petition that was presented by Faustina Chataika, a Safe Cities Campaign community volunteer, demanded an end to the harassment of women and girls in public transport, the overloading commuter omnibuses, touts forcing passengers, especially women to board their public transport by snatching their bags and even kids, shoving them onto their buses.
The petition also stated that, there should be an end to the passing of derogatory remarks to women especially young women, passing abusive comments about their structure or dressing, hassling and teasing of women as well as robbery and other demands.
The workshop was in relation to the commemorations of 16 days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, which is running under the theme: Creating a zero tolerance to sexual harassment in the workplace.
ActionAid International is a global justice federation working to achieve social justice, gender equality and poverty eradication.
The rights of women are at the centre of ActionAid’s work as women are disproportionately affected by all social ills.
ActionAid started to operate in Zimbabwe in 1999, pursuing various poverty alleviation and humanitarian programs in Nkayi, Kariba, Buhera, Mbire, Binga, Hwedza, Makoni, and Nyanga, with its headquarters in Harare.
The organisation is implementing a number of projects, including Safe Cities Campaign in Harare and Chitungwiza with the overall objective to promote safe, quality, reliable and accessible public transportation sensitive and responsive to women and girl’s needs.