A LECTURER at the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) told a first-year student that she would fail her course if she refused his sexual advances, while he also tried to turn her into his “pimp”, as he asked her to scout for female students for him and fellow lecturers to prey on.
Mr Gerald Kwinjo, a lecturer in the Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Department, was found guilty of sexual misconduct after a disciplinary hearing constituted by the institution.
Mr Kwinjo was accused of “making unwelcome sexual advances or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature which has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the individual’s work or academic performance, undermine job security or creating an intimidating, hostile, abusive or offensive learning environment.”
Mr Kwinjo’s alleged victim is a first-year student (name supplied) studying towards a Bachelor of Technology in Chemical and Process Systems Engineering. According to the aggrieved student, represented by Dube-Tachiona and Tsvangirai Legal Practitioners at the hearing, Mr Kwinjo got her phone number against her will and went on to pester her for sexual favours.
“On several occasions, Mr Kwinjo requested our client’s cellphone number and she persistently refused to give him until she felt threatened and pressurised to give him. On several dates, the lecturer proposed to our client that the two of them go swimming and beer drinking as well as dates, invitations which she refused, thus inviting anger and scorn from him,” read part of the allegations made against Mr Kwinjo.
In WhatsApp chats that Sunday News is in possession of, Mr Kwinjo repeatedly asked his victim to come for beer drinking sessions and went to the extent of requesting that she abandons school work so she can be with him. According to the victim’s lawyers, such incidents had led to a breakdown in the relationship between lecturer and student, leading to Mr Kwinjo’s threat that he would fail her on the courses she was taking.
“Mr Kwinjo went to the extent of instructing our client to find girls on his behalf and on behalf of other lecturers who are his friends, thus attempting to turn our client into a sexual pimp. Recently, Mr Kwinjo advised our client that because she refused to co-operate, he would fail her in the course he teaches (Drawing). Despite the fact that she had been passing all her coursework, she was thus failed because she refused his sexual advances, refused to act as his pimp and refused to go on drinking sprees with him.”
The Harare Institute of Technology confirmed that Mr Kwinjo had been found guilty, although the institution’s director of communications and international relations Mr Tinashe Mutema was non-committal about the punishment that had been handed to Mr Kwinjo.
The university has advised the complainant to report the case to the Zimbabwe Republic Police.