PCCB praised for providing education on sextortion

13Feb 2020
Correspondent
The Guardian
PCCB praised for providing education on sextortion

ONE among government institutions which have done commendable work in educating the public on the tasks they have been entrusted with by the nation is the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB).

This institution has ably used its Mass Education and Communications Unit to provide education concerning corruption, and its effects on the public and the society in general. Certainly as to providing this education by using the mass media, leaflets, roadside placards and in social media platforms, PCCB have plainly shown support for efforts of the fifth phase government to fiercely combat corruption in the country.

The problem of corruption generally besets many governments in the African continent. You will see during general elections, it is the main argument in political platforms. Any politician who emphasizes that if his party takes office it will combat acts of corruption stands a good opportunity of garnering many votes and succeed in being elected, as the larger part of the population are tired of acts of corruption.

In recent years in the country there has emerged a new type of corruption known as ‘sextortion,’ where 15 years back or earlier it was scarcely being heard, despite that it was there.

Ordinary corruption has been interpreted as involving handing out money or some other valuable item to give to someone with power over some issue, so that he gives preference to you, the giver of that bribe.

We have been hearing about millions in cash (which are bribes) had been given to a certain official or company so that it is given permission to operate a major project for electricity, mineral, water, trade, etc.

We remember a number of prominent individuals resigning in Parliament and others facing the music in public on account of faulty contracts and fictitious purchases.

This other type of bribe, sexuality is different from the usual kinds of bribe which people are familiar with, that of giving money or gifts like a car, machine or bales of clothing.

Sexual extortion or sex bribery has become influential because people with power somewhere want women, girls or lower level public servants serving under them to offer such bribe so that they give them some kind of favor. A teacher could demand that a student give that kind of bribe so that he marks her paper highly. A woman who has applied for a job is required to offer such bribe so that she is employed, etc.

It is a form of corruption linked with body desires, erosion of ideals and giving a favor to someone because she doesn’t recognize her rights.

Recently the Women Fund of Tanzania – Trust (WFT) which is led by its managing director, Mary Rusimbi, has provided a grant to PCCB so as to boost its capacity to supervise the fight against sexual bribery, by applying legislation passed by Parliament.

In various PCCB seminars, topic presenters from the organization – Annete Mavika, Doreen Kapwani, Matai Kivumbi and Sarah Chorota – have emphasized that the penalty for sextortion (which a few years ago was a jail term of not more than three years or a fine of not more than five hundred thousand shillings or both penalties together) has been raised to become a jail term of 20 years.

Some people are surprised, why should this penalty be increased so massively, such that it is being compared with economic sabotage? These topic presenters insist that sextortion deserves heavy penalty because of its effects, including employing people who don’t deserve the positions, or they don’t have the right qualifications in our institutions, violations of lawful procedures and also violation of human rights.

Also another impact is institutions to be dotted with workers with inadequate education simply because they offered sex,, unplanned pregnancies, increase in sexually related diseases especially HIV, and also interruption of studies especially among girls in schools and colleges.

“There are powerful people in offices who have a habit of sexually approaching their workers in a random manner, even if they are wives of other people. When they are given a bad response they become angry and start pursuing them. Please give us names of those powerful people so that we follow them closely,” said one of the topic presenters.

On the WFT side, its spokesperson Bernadetta Kafuko said they continued cooperating with PCCB and the police force to oppose sextortion and gender-based violence, and will continue providing a grant to educate the public in order to eliminate that kind of victimization.

Up to now WFT has cooperated with PCCB in campaigns with the slogan ‘Refuse Sexual Bribery. Build a Just Generation,’ and ‘Break the Silence, Refuse Sexual Bribery.’ WFT and PCCB signed a cooperation agreement in September last year.

The spokesperson emphasizes that increasing cases of sextortion in our society has many reasons including oppressive systems (especially patriarchy), being shy about this problem (victims suffer silently) and abuse of power.

The issue of quickly reporting an incident for victims of sextortion is very important. PCCB offices are in 28 regions and 117 districts in Mainland Tanzania.

Just like other incidents of corruption are reported, a sextortion incident can be reported to PCCB by using a toll-free line number 113. Similarly, sound evidence on phone or video is received. These reports are worked upon in great secrecy, in other words those who report an incident are protected.

If evidence is gathered, PCCB is ready to take to court all those involved in sextortion, even if they are powerful people in the government, in political parties, parastatal organizations and private companies. Several cases have been filed in court by PCCB in the recent past.

WFT issues grants to provide education as it builds courage among women and girls, so that they don’t continue to accept sextortion and being humiliated.

Also WFT have praised PCCB for conducting surveys in various colleges, to know in detail why this matter of sextortion is being speedily taking root in the past few years. Many shocking reports have been released by media organs.

WFT will continue to cooperate with PCCB on this question on account of the fact that it is the only institution with legal powers to take to court perpetrators of sextortion so that they are properly tried. Many people are congratulating PCCB for educating the public on legal provisions which can enable conviction of people with power and have the urge to commit sextortion.

If you are a victim of this form of corruption you can also report on the website [email protected]

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