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Judicial CP - February 2005

Corpun file 15250


The Midweek Sun, Gaborone, 2 February 2005

Zimbabwean gets five strokes of the cane

By Ntibinyane Ntibinyane

A FRANCISTOWN street vendor, Esenati Ntshabe, learnt life the hard way recently when the idea of harbouring an illegal immigrant boomeranged in her face after a Zimbabwean man she had kept secretly at her house as an errand boy ran away with her P800.

This was the result of a personal relationship that started way back in 2003 between her and Simon Tapuwa, a 26-year old Zimbabwean who had come to Botswana in search of a job.

After his efforts to land a job failed, Tapuwa ended up in Ntshabe's sympathetic hands who then gave him a job to help her run her business of selling cellular phone airtime and candy.

Last week Ntshabe told the Monarch Customary Court Vice President, Gaborekwe Malake, that after experimenting with Tapuwa in the first few months of their relationship, she developed trust in him and the two came up with a business idea that involved buying cartons of cigarettes in Zimbabwe for selling them in Botswana.

She said as Tapuwa did not have any money, he agreed to work for her and the conditions of his work were that he would travel to Zimbabwe from time to time to buy stock with the money that Ntshabe would have given him.

This went on for the first few months until one day in March 2004 when Tapuwa failed to return after collecting P800 from Ntshabe.

Asked if she knew whether Tapuwa was staying in Botswana legally, Ntshabe answered in the negative. "I was impressed by the fact that he seemed an obedient person. Our relationship dragged on for months, and as a result I used to give him money to go and buy me some things in Zimbabwe which I would then sell in Botswana. Most of the time he would not disappoint me," said the 36-year old Ntshabe.

She said she became suspicious one day when Tapuwa failed to return within a reasonable time after she had given him P800. Little did she realize that Tapuwa had been back in Botswana and was staying elsewhere in Francistown to hide away from her until one day in the New Year when a friend made her aware of the Zimbabwean's whereabouts.

She then went to report Tapuwa to the police who arrested him on January 24.

When Tapuwa was finally brought to court last week, Ntshabe did not ask for a refund of her money, but instead prayed the court to teach Tapuwa a lesson he would never forget.

After pleading guilty to a charge of obtaining by false pretences, Tapuwa, who at the time of his arrest was an illegal immigrant in Botswana, asked the court to take cognizance of the fact that he was staying in Botswana legally at the time of commission of the offence.

"It is only now that I'm staying in Botswana illegally, otherwise before now I was residing in this country legally," he told the court.

He went on to plead with the court to hand down a lighter sentence "to allow me a chance to continue to look after my family back home."

After listening to Tapuwa, the court sentenced him to five strokes of the cane and ordered that he be placed under the care of the Francistown Center for Illegal Immigrants where he would await deportation back to Zimbabwe.

Corpun file 15060


Mmegi, Gaborone, 2 February 2005

AG explains advantage of corporal punishment

By Thato Chwaane
Staff Writer

The Attorney General Ian Kirby has said that corporal punishment is one the best ways to reduce congestion in prisons. Speaking at the opening of the legal year at the Lobatse High Court yesterday, Kirby said that the country's prisons have exceeded their holding capacity by 160 percent.

Mugshot of KirbyThis he said can only be reduced by non-custodial sentences.

He said crime and illegal immigrants have caused the overcrowding in Botswana prisons. He said the government has decided to decongest prisons by legalising corporal punishment for certain offences by males under the age of 40.

He said it would also be permitted as an alternative sentence in cases of non-payment of fines. Kirby said that Parliament is aware that corporal punishment is against current human right trends. But the punishment is justified if it helps in decongestion of prisons and preventing the resultant violence and illnesses. He encouraged community service for offenders where resources are available for supervision. He said the Penal Code Amendment) Act of 2004 that seeks to introduce sentencing discretion if there are extenuating circumstances where mandatory punishment applies was meant to reduce injustices.

Kirby said the Constitution (Amendment) Bill seeks to remove ambiguities in the constitution to make it tribally and gender neutral. He said that the Bill would reform and reconstitute the House of Chiefs and redefine the role of the Attorney General. The Attorney General would gradually take over the prosecution role of the Botswana police in the next 10 years. Kirby said Botswana employs 300 police officers doing prosecutions who would be relieved to go back and fight crime. He said they are already training more lawyers and paralegal prosecutors. He said it was a myth that the AG Chambers was haemorrhaging from losing large numbers of staff. "This is not so. As the largest law firm in the country, we experience some staff turnover each year, as does every big business," he said.

He said the AG Chambers continued to attract graduate applications and lawyers from the private sector for work at all levels. He urged private lawyers to appreciate that they are on the same side of fighting crime.

He said delivery in the past from the AG Chambers had been impended by manpower shortages. Kirby expressed concern with the increase of armed robberies, hijackings, rapes, frauds and what he termed "cowardly and despicable crimes of killings by jilted lovers." He said perpetrators should face the full force of the law.

He said the dubious strategy of delaying criminal trials and refusing admissions of uncontested facts in the hope that it would benefit the accused should be avoided.

He said postponements cause a backlog of cases. He urged lawyers, prosecutors and members of the bench to resist temptations of accepting tainted fees and dubious proposals from criminals.

He warned that the line between a defence attorney and accessory after the fact in crime is a very thin one. He said he was saddened that some people in the legal profession were facing trials on serious allegations of dishonesty.

©Mmegi, 2002 Developed by Cyberplex Africa

blob Follow-up: 30 March 2005 - House approves bill on corporal punishment

Corpun file 15251


The Midweek Sun, Gaborone, 2 February 2005

Chief declares war on lawlessness

By Tsaone Basimanebotlhe

THE unruly behaviour of some youths in Monarch, Francistown, is giving the area's Customary Court Vice President - Gaborekwe Molake - a hard time.

On Friday last week, the chief expressed concern at the state of moral decadence among the Monarch youths who he said take to drinking in large numbers and thereafter engage in acts of lawlessness.

But being the one not given to surrendering in the face of adversity, Molake has vowed to crack the whip to bring the culprits in line.

He said this when he sentenced 30-year old Tikologo Gaebolae to five strokes of the cane on the buttocks after he convicted him for being a nuisance to the public.

The court heard that on New Year's Eve at a pub at Monarch, a drunken Gaebolae hurled insults at Amos Ramaphane for no apparent reason. Speaking at the end of the trial, Molake expressed concern that alcohol abuse was common among the youth of Monarch, including by school children.

He said as a result his court was inundated with reports of cases of assault and use of abusive language, the two offences Molake said were common among young people, especially at weekends.

The chief revealed that this year alone, he has presided over 40 cases of common nuisance involving young people.

Corpun file 15141

Botswana Daily News Online, Gaborone, 7 February 2005

Kgosi Seeletso calls for 'proper' caning


MMADINARE - Kgosi Phokontsi Seeletso of Mmadinare says the government has refused to bring back corporal punishment in the form Batswana have demanded, leading to rising lawlessness.

Kgosi Seeletso was speaking during a kgotla meeting addressed by the Member of Parliament for Mmadinare, Ponatshego Kedikilwe last Wednesday.

Seeletso said flogging in Setswana culture is done on the back and not the buttocks.

Batswana in general, he said have concluded that the government has turned down their request for the traditional punishment.



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