Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
TWO senior Zimbabwe Referees Committee officials (names supplied) have been accused of alleged sexual harassment by some female referees, including married ones.
Some of the referees said they had decided to speak out after their complaints were continuously ignored.
They particularly accused one official of being a “sex pest” that harasses them during most referees’ courses.
One Harare-based referee said she was tired of the pestering by “Official One” and is willing to testify against him before a tribunal.
“To be honest we now don’t know what to do because we are persistently getting phone calls from some male members of the referees’ committee asking for sexual favours. Now and again, especially when people go for these (referees) courses, you get calls being asked to spend a night at a hotel with them.
“Personally I have received these calls from Official One. At one time he was saying I come to Jameson Hotel, having spent the day asking me so many questions about my personal life, which, however, never bothered me because I considered him as my superior. Little did I know he was just a loose sex pest,” said the Harare-based referee (name withheld).
She said after turning him down, she confided in some other female referees, who also shared similar experiences.
“Even after totally refusing, the pestering has never stopped. At one time I communicated with another member of the (referees) committee (name supplied), but he seemed uninterested in helping us, making me suspect that he too was into the same game. We need help as female referees and I am more than willing to give evidence to the relevant authorities,” said the mother of one.
In a leaked audio in possession of Chronicle Sport, a man said to be Official One can be heard asking another female referee from Bulawayo to travel to Harare and spend some overnight “quality time” with him.
In the audio of March 5, 2020, he asks the referee why she didn’t travel to Harare for some overnight quality time.
“But let me ask; we were agreeing all along then suddenly you are now asking me where exactly will you go to and yet I had told you that I am in town and you will come on Saturday, I pick you we spend time together then Sunday morning you go back, but yesterday you were asking me lots of questions as if we were starting all over again. Where are all those questions coming from,” the man said to be Official One says.
“Me and you agreed that you were going to visit to see me. I even told you that I will be alone and am booked alone for the course. I don’t have anyone I am sharing my room with; the Bulawayo guys are not coming this side. We then agreed that you will get into a bus that leaves Bulawayo around 12pm and arrives here early evening. I then pick you and spend a night together, you board Sunday morning. Before I go for the fitness test, I drop you at the Showgrounds to board a bus back to Bulawayo,” he tells the female referee, who, however, sounded uninterested in travelling to the capital.
She pretends something has come up and asks him to call back later and within minutes he calls back.
The lady politely informs him that she has a fixture on Sunday (March 8, 2020) and hence can’t travel.
In a WhatsApp chat screenshot, which Chronicle Sport is also in possession of, allegedly sent by Official Two to a Chitungwiza-based referee (name withheld) on March 22, 2019, at 5.05pm, he asked if she was available “to buy him drinks”.
“Hi (name withheld) I am in Harare, by the way are you based here?”
She responded: “Yes sir, I stay in Chitungwiza,” the female referee responded.
“Yoh, that’s far, I wanted you to buy me a drink.”
“Parizvino ndirikumusha kuNjanja ndirikumboona amai vangu, havasi kunzwa zvakanaka. (Right now I am at my rural home in Njanja visiting my mother who is not feeling well),” the woman said.
“Ok next time,” he said. Official Two allegedly called later in the evening, but had no joy.
Asked to comment about the serious allegations being levelled against him, Official One said: “Kindly contact our (referees committee) vice-chairman (Brighton) Mudzamiri, who is currently carrying out proper investigations on the allegations.”
Official Two dismissed the allegations as fake.
“This is fake baba; it’s a grand scheme to tarnish my image. I have been told (by) my legal practitioner who is handling my defamation case not to comment,” he said.
Mudzamiri did not respond to questions sent to him.