Stop songs and jokes that perpetuate GBV—ESCOM COO

By Peter Kanjere, ESCOM PRO

Songs and jokes that border on obscenity have no place in Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) Limited, as they perpetuate Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

ESCOM Limited Chief Operations Officer, Eng. Maxwell Mulimakwenda, said this in his speech when he opened a virtual conference for the corporation’s members of staff to commemorate 16 Days of Activism Against GBV from 1:30pm on December 6 2023.

Mulimakwenda said time for suffering in silence when subjected to GBV at the workplace in ESCOM has ended. “We cannot deny that Gender-Based Violence exists within our company. Our colleagues, the women have been highlighting these issues for a long time. Sometimes, we have given these issues a blind eye,” he said.

The COO cited examples of obscene songs and jokes which some ESCOM employees do while in the line of duty, especially when working in the field, as perpetuating GBV. “Time has come for all of us to make a difference. Now is the time for action. Each one of us should be counted to make a difference. We cannot stand on the sidelines. If you are a male colleague out there, don’t stand on the sidelines. I am calling on you to take action. In the field, linesmen; this is the time to change those songs. They should not be songs that are rooted in obscenity,” he added.

Mulimakwenda then assured that the Executive Management of ESCOM was determined to act on all cases of GBV brought to its attention. He further urged supervisors and manager entrusted with implementing the ongoing Functional Review to ensure gender-balance when assessing and recommending people for positions in the organogram.

“As we are preparing the Functional Review, let us use this opportunity to increase representation of women and girls in positions. Don’t use the excuse that women cannot work in certain areas. Let us not use excuses that border on traditions,” the COO added.

Speaking when he introduced the COO, ESCOM Limited Administration and Logistics Manager, Tanda Kadam’manja, said the aim of the conference was to deepen levels of understanding of GBV issues among members of staff.

“The objective of the conference is to help increase our levels of awareness on GBV and to mobilise each other to stand up against GBV. The expectation is that we will go out there and become ambassadors against any form of GBV,” Kadam’manja said.

The highlight of the conference saw speakers such as Susan Moyo, Ireen Matola-Tanga, Director of Legal Affairs and Company Secretary Mrs Sally Mtambo and Regulatory Affairs Manager Chaona Kwakwala make presentations on Emotional Violence at Workplace, Overcoming GBV at the workplace-Breaking Barriers and Gender and Law respectively.

The 62-plus participants had an opportunity to ask questions and share their experiences, with some highlighting incidences in which some customers are involved in acts of GBV during service delivery.

The Social and Gender Inclusion (SGI) section, led by its Manager Elube Chienda, hosted the conference under the localised theme: ESCOM Against GBV–WALKING THE TALK.
The participants included Eliza Chanika, Tarzan Kalombola, Benjamin Bvalani, Bernard Nkhulawe, Mary Mnewa, Cosmas Kaunga, Jean Thyoka, Rose Kamoto, Henry Chinthalo, Ulemu Chirembo, Francisca Kayipa, Moses Kamwendo, Fort Kazembe, Clara Mbendera, Daisy Katimba, Daniel Mandala, Thandie Tambala, Senior Projects Manager Alex Kaitane and Senior Risk Manager Louis Mlangiza. The GBV Day is commemorated every year from November 25 to December 10. MULIMAKWENDA— Let us not use excuses that border on traditions


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