In the recent past, Zambian news sites and newspapers have had stories concerning bank thefts by female employees. The first shock of such incidents involved what everyone suspects to have been a well calculated bank theft where Pamela Gondwe, an employee of Barclays Bank Longacres Branch, stole $400,000 cash and other amounts in foreign currency and fled the country. What followed were screaming headlines with “FEMALE BANKER” as the most prominent marks of what the news people intended to convey. To this day, nobody really knows where Pamela is except herself, and probably her closest allies.
A month or so later, a Zanaco employee in Monze, Imenda Musialeki, is said to have stolen K59, 000 from the bank and set the registry room ablaze in an effort to destroy evidence. Not so lucky she was as police arrested her around Muzoka area as she was walking along the road near an area called Nigeria (LOL). This aside, again, it was “ANOTHER FEMALE BANKER” as the key words used in most of the headlines seen for this particular story.
And this week, the Drug Enforcement Commission arrested a former Zanaco employee, a female, in connection with theft of over K500,000. You all know what was in the headlines! Yes, the aspect of her being female seemed to have made much more news than anything else that was contained in the statement released by the Drug Enforcement Commission.
Please do not take me wrong – I am in no way defending the wrongdoers at all. What I see baffling is how most of news outlets rushed to make the aspect of the offender being female much more newsworthy than focusing on the actual offence committed. Theft is theft, whether committed by a man or a woman. I see this trend stereotypical! Would it change the essence of it all if one just goes to say “BANKER ARRESTED” and leave the detail or identities and gender in the full story? My worry is that we are slowly, and without realizing it, tagging the women with a thieving identity when such crimes have since time immemorial been committed by both genders. Forget about the frequency of crimes committed by a particular gender! That definitely does not define who they really are. The truth remains that bank thefts have been committed by both men and women over the years and when it happens, gender must not be the focus but the crime committed!