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Judicial CP - September 2006
Mmegi, Gaborone, 1 September 2006
Residents unite against crime
By Patricia Maganu
NSHAKAZHOGWE: Residents of Nshakazhogwe village have requested to be allowed to cane underage children who are caught committing crime. The headman of Nshakazhogwe, Mudongo Kgetsi, said that crime in that village was escalating but, in most situations, they remain helpless because the children who are committing these crimes are under the age of seventeen and cannot be prosecuted.
"We can't do anything," the headman complained. The villagers sent their requests through the chief of Sebina, Kgakanyane Sebina, at a village meeting held there on August 30. They requested that he takes their concerns to the Social and Community Development office.
"These (youths) cannot be taken to jail but we can have our own way of dealing with them but it has to be within the law," he said. He said that the crime rate in the village is just too high and that the initial step they took was to visit all the nine wards in the village and talk about the crimes. Kgetsi said that from all the nine wards, they found that the residents had similar experiences and views when it came to crime.
"Everyone agreed that the crime in our village was not being committed solely by Zimbabweans as we would all love to believe," Kgetsi said. "The burglaries are committed by our own children in this village."
He conceded that Zimbabweans did come to Botswana illegally but local children led the crimes that they committed.
Kgetsi went on to advise parents that they should stop accepting goods from their children who are not working. Kgetsi lamented that the crime rate in that village has gone steeply up, making it unsafe to walk anywhere in the village once it is dark. Residents said that, sometimes, children bring home expensive goods such as television sets, radios and cell phones, but their parents do not question them either because they are scared of their children or they are in it together since they may benefit from crimes committed by their children. Kgetsi added that, if the children cannot be canned [sic] at the customary court, then their parents should be held responsible for all the stolen goods that their children are found in possession of.
Chief Sebina asked the villagers to unite and not pull the rope from both ends since, if that were the case, they would fail to solve the problem. Sebina said that he would take the request to the right people but the villagers should not lose hope. He further said that parents should intervene.
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