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Judicial CP - April 2009



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The Voice, Francistown, 3 April 2009

Mabiletsa lost vital info

Two youngsters given four lashes each for stealing MP's expensive cell phone

By Francinah Baaitse

Teen boys getting flogged (no larger size available)To the two youngsters, pilfering MP Isaac Mabiletsa's cell phone may have been a daily chore. But to the Kgatleng East legislator, the act cost him valuable information he may need in the coming October national elections.

Two young men got a public flogging for pick pocketing and making away with Botswana National Front MP's expensive mobile phone recently. But the few lashes behind the lads' backs mean little as the MP has lost very important data, which include a diary and a complete phone book consisting of personal numbers of some diplomats and top politicians in the country. Mochudi Police are working very hard to recover the sim-card despite the MP having blocked it through the mobile company.

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On Monday, the boys admitted the guilt before the Bakgatla regent, Kgosi Mothibe Linchwe at Mochudi customary court, and were each given four lashes which tore across their bare backs leaving ugly marks. As education starts at a mother's knee, Linchwe took time administering the lashes with the support of the young men's parents and the MP.

"Just let the sting penetrate, my boy!" Kgosi remarked as he took brief pauses between the beatings. The boys rolled in pain to the delight of the spectators.  One of the accused is a form four student at Ledumang Senior Secondary School in Gaborone whilst his friend is a loiterer.

The boys stole the Nokia E90 mobile phone worth about P8000. Mabiletsa did not give a full account of the incident before the court because he said he had pardoned the boys. He however, brought them to the customary court solely for flogging as he strongly supports the notion that the rod cannot be spared whilst the children gets spoiled.

Mabiletsa later related the story  to The Voice in an interview. He revealed that the incident took place at Spar in Mochudi where he was making some evening shopping with his expensive phone hanging loosely on his waist. As the mouth waters for what the eyes sees, and as the MP was still packing some drinks in a shopping basket, one of the boys approached him and asked if the drinks were on special.

"Whilst I was trying to respond to the young man's question, the other pretended to have tripped and bumped on my side and grabbed the phone," the MP said. It was only when the boys were almost walking out of the shop that the MP realised he has been hit. The not so athletic MP together with the security officers tried to give chase on foot, but the young men disappeared and were swallowed by the darkness of the village. Fortunately for the MP, that very evening another young man was caught by a security officer trying to steal a brick of butter and the interrogation led the police to the arrest of the two pick-pocketers.

The culprits were arrested two days later after they had sold the phone for P600 to a Zimbabwean national at the Gaborone bus rank. They had used some of the money to spoil themselves with drinks. When the phone was recovered last week Thursday it was in the possession of a Zambian national who bought it for P2000 from the Zimbabwean, but the sim-card was missing and had allegedly been kept by the Zimbabwean. The police are working to retrieve it, even though Mabiletsa asserted he had it blocked.

"I believe they were only interested in the money, not the contents of the sim-card," noted Mabiletsa. In an effort to alleviate crime, the station commander for Mochudi police station, Robert Masibi pointed out that they would exhaust all avenues to get the sim-card back to its rightful owner.

However, Orange's Public Relations Manager, Karabo Tlhabiwe revealed that once a Sim-card had been blocked, it is just a piece of plastic which cannot be accessed.  "Unless of course if there is a technology that we are not aware of," Tlhabiwe asserted.

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