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Judicial CP - February 2004

Corpun file 12738

Botswana Daily News Online, 2 February 2004

Zim ambassador concerned about 'Xmas' remarks

MAHALAPYE - The Zimbabwean ambassador to Botswana, Phelekezela Mphoko recently visited Mahalapye tribal administration offices and raised concern about comments made by a tribal authority while applying corporal punishment to some Zimbabwean illegal immigrants late last year.

Mahalapye tribal authorities told BOPA that Mphoko visited the kgotla on January 6 and inquired why the headman who applied corporal punishment to the Zimbabwean illegal immigrants said he was "distributing Christmas presents" to them when caning them.

Kgosi Johannes Maherero and Kgosi Tshipe Tshipe said though the ambassador was aware that corporal punishment was lawful in Botswana, he was not amused by what was said during the canning [sic].

Kgosi Tshipe said the Zimbabweans who were caned at Mahalapye kgotla towards the end of last year had crossed into Botswana illegally.

He denied ever saying that he was distributing a Christmas present to the 22 Zimbabweans when he caned them for illegal crossing into Botswana.

He said the story was "cooked" by the Midweek Sun reporter. BOPA

News Source: All local news stories were supplied by the Botswana Press Agency (BOPA)

Corpun file 12757

The Herald, Harare, Zimbabwe, 3 February 2004


Migrants' Rights Grossly Violated

By Sifelani Tsiko


THE treatment of Zimbabwean citizens and other people from the region who migrate legally and illegally to neighbouring countries mainly Botswana and South Africa is often catastrophic raising underlying questions about xenophobia.

In most cases their human rights are systematically and grossly violated.

The question of ill treatment and violent malpractices on illegal migrants has taken on a new urgency in the wake of recent reports on the flogging of some 100 Zimbabweans who illegally entered Botswana.

Reports are numerous and victims have in the past complained about the punishment meted out to them by the Batswana police and army is some cases.

In this latest xenophobic case, a customary law court ordered 100 Zimbabweans to be given three lashes in public, a move that has been roundly condemned by human rights activists and many others as dehumanising and humiliating.

"It is a gross human rights abuse, you cannot allow that to happen, lashing an adult cannot be expected this day and age," says human rights lawyer Mr Harrison Nkomo.

This, critics say, is similar to the inhuman and barbaric system of slavery.

There are even more gory tales.

Last year in October three Zimbabweans died under mysterious circumstances after eating sadza laced with poison in Botswana.

The three died in Tutume village, a few kilometres outside Francistown after eating the meal laced with rat poison.

At the same time, the Botswana government buried 12 bodies of Zimbabweans after officials in that country said they could not identify their Zimbabwean relatives.

Anti-Zimbabwean feelings are prevalent in Botswana and the hosts often hurl insults at them accusing them of crime and strangely for "spreading" Aids through prostitution, foot and mouth and for "stealing" jobs in their country.

The Batswanas are quick on name-calling and tend to down-play the fact that there are many enterprising Zimbabweans who are involved in genuine cross-border trade - selling music and video tapes, artefacts, clothes and many other items to earn a living.

Similarly, the Batswanas tap on the skilled labour from Zimbabwe to enhance their economic growth.

Lack of mutual trust has fuelled up xenophobic attacks on Zimbabweans.


Copyright 2004 The Herald. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

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