Robson Mhandu is a prominent Zimbabwean journalist who has made significant contributions to the media industry. His career, marked by professional achievements, has also been shadowed by a recent controversy involving allegations of sexual harassment, particularly concerning Farai Juliet Magada, a female employee at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC).
Age & Date of Birth
Unfortunately, publicly available documents do not provide information about Robson Mhandu’s age and date of birth at this time.
Personal Life, Wife, and Children
Mhandu, a devoted member of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, is happily married to Patience, and the couple is blessed with four children – two boys and two girls.
Robson Mhandu’s educational journey includes:
- Primary and Secondary Education: He attended Kwenda and Sadza secondary schools for his Ordinary Level education.
- Advanced Levels: He continued his studies at Harare High School for Advanced Levels.
- University: In 1990, he earned a BSc Honours in Sociology degree from the University of Zimbabwe.
- Master’s Degree: He obtained a Master’s in Business Administration degree from Success Institute in South Africa in 2002.
- Certificates: Between 1997 and 2012, he garnered various certificates in media and management.
Robson Mhandu’s career has been diverse, covering multiple sectors:
- Media Career (1991-2010): He spent nearly two decades at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), starting as a junior officer and rising to middle management, eventually leaving as a general manager.
- Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (2010): He served as the head of marketing and corporate services at ZIMRA.
- Kalamazoo Business Systems Group International (2012): In 2012, he worked with Kalamazoo Business Systems Group International.
- Zimbabwe Open University: Mhandu also held the position of Director of Marketing and Business Development for the Zimbabwe Open University.
- Return to ZBC (2018): He re-joined ZBC in September 2018 as Director of Productions and Television Services.
Mhandu has actively participated in politics, particularly in support of the Zanu-PF party:
- Zanu-PF Affiliation: He joined Zanu-PF in 1983 and engaged in Zanu-PF youth activities at Chitungwiza and the University of Zimbabwe.
- Seke 1 District Executive: After leaving ZBC in 2009, he became part of the executive team for Seke 1 District in Chitungwiza, holding the position of secretary for finance.
- 2013 Elections: Mhandu ran as a Zanu-PF candidate for the Chitungwiza North Constituency in the 2013 elections but was unsuccessful.
Robson Mhandu found himself in a significant controversy due to allegations of sexual harassment, primarily involving Farai Juliet Magada, a female presenter at ZBC. Here are the key details of this contentious incident:
Suspension from ZBC
In September 2023, Robson Mhandu was suspended from his role as Director of Radio Services at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) following accusations made by Farai Juliet Magada, a fellow employee.
- Farai Juliet Magada Biography| Profile, Education, Forced Marriage, Divorce, Achievements, Case Against Robson Mhandu
Allegations of Sexual Harassment
Mhandu faced allegations of soliciting sexual favors from Farai Juliet Magada, also known as Farie Jules, who had requested a transfer from Bulawayo to Harare. The allegations emerged during the handling of her transfer request.
Recorded Conversations and Messages
The controversy deepened with the emergence of audio recordings and WhatsApp messages as evidence of Mhandu’s alleged misconduct. These recordings and messages played a pivotal role in substantiating the claims:
- Audio Recordings: Two audio recordings captured conversations between Mhandu and Magada, lasting 18 minutes and 3 minutes respectively, with Mhandu pressuring Magada and making explicit remarks about the transfer request.
- WhatsApp Messages: 14 screenshots of WhatsApp messages were presented as evidence, featuring persistent advances and explicit language from Mhandu.
Threats and Coercion
Throughout the recorded conversations, Mhandu used threats and his position of authority to pressure Magada. He implied that her transfer request depended on her compliance with his demands, even suggesting he could send her back to Bulawayo if she refused.
Denial and Determination to Fight
Despite the mounting evidence, Mhandu remained defiant and expressed his intention to contest the sexual harassment charges. He was willing to participate in an internal disciplinary hearing scheduled for the following month to defend himself.
Calls for a Wider Inquiry
The controversy led to calls for a broader investigation into the workplace culture at ZBC, with employees expressing concerns about the possibility of a more extensive problem related to sexual harassment within the company. Some suggested the need for an independent panel to conduct a comprehensive inquiry.
The government also took notice of the controversy, with Information, Publicity, and Broadcasting Services Minister Jenfan Muswere attending a workshop addressing sexual harassment in the media industry. Minister Muswere acknowledged the seriousness of sexual harassment as a violation of human rights and pledged the government’s commitment to addressing such issues in the workplace.
The controversy surrounding Robson Mhandu remained unresolved as of the suspension and allegations. The matter was scheduled to proceed to an internal disciplinary hearing to determine the consequences Mhandu would face in response to the allegations of sexual harassment.