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Judicial CP - November 2006

Corpun file 18611

The Voice, Francistown, 13 November 2006

Thieves lashed

A Zimbabwean man and his Zambian accomplice recently left the Urban Customary Court in tears after being whipped for car break-in and stealing.

23-year-old Obert Gwishiri of Harare and 32-year-old Kevin Mutanyabona were each charged with burglary and theft after allegedly breaking into one Joseph Thomas' Mazda Drifter and stealing a radio, spanners and plastic bags full of money.

They pleaded guilty to the accusations before court president Dikwalo Monametsi and were each sentenced to four strokes per charge.

Testifying before Kgosi Monametsi Constable Molosantwa of Gaborone Central Police station described how the cops received a report that the car had been broken into in Old Naledi and then arrested the pair after linking them to the crime.

When arrested, Gwirishi and Mutanyabona were found with the radio, spanners and coin bags, which were produced before court as part of the evidence against the thieving pair.

Meanwhile in their mitigation the accused men asked Kgosi Monametsi not to jail them. For his part Mutanyabona said he could not afford to go to prison because he is taking care of his sister. Gwirishi asked not to be jailed because he has a wife and two kids to support.

Before passing the sentence Kgosi Monametsi remarked: "I will give you very stiff punishment because crime rate in this country is rapidly rising".

Copyright The Voice 2005

Corpun file 18645


Mmegi, Gaborone, 29 November 2006

Prisoner administers corporal punishment

By Lekopanye Mooketsi

The Mogoditshane Customary Court is using a prisoner to administer corporal punishment on convicts. The prisoner is under extramural punishment at the Customary Court. Yesterday, he was a busy man as he whipped a number of people sentenced by the court.

First he stretched the sticks that were buried in wet soil to make them more effective before delivering the lashes on the buttocks of misbehaving men and boys. At 10am he gave a man convicted of dagga possession five lashes. Next he was to work on the buttocks of a man found guilty of assaulting his wife, but before he administered the five lashes, the court ordered that the man should go for medical examination to determine whether he was fit to receive corporal punishment.

Two Zimbabwean men found guilty of stealing paint were not so lucky and the extramural prisoner was ordered to give them five each. The punishment proved too much for one of the men who collapsed after three strokes. He was spared further punishment.

Mogoditshane chief, Alfred Dihutso said there was nothing wrong with the prisoner administering corporal punishment. He said he could delegate anyone to do that task including a journalist. He explained that he could not use Local Police officers because they are attending to other duties.

The chief said he could not assign the prosecutor who was a member of the Botswana Police Service to apply the punishment. However, the practice of assigning extramural prisoners to administer corporal punishment has been condemned by Dihutso's bosses. The Customary Courts Commissioner, Mooketsi Motlhagodi said it would be wrong to assign a prisoner to punish other convicts.

"How can you order a criminal to punish another criminals?" he asked. He said he would take up the matter with the Mogoditshane Customary Court.

Motlhagodi said the chief can only assign anyone who is lawfully on duty to administer punishment though they discourage the use of Local Police officers.

The deputy Commissioner of Prisons, Elizabeth Masire, said people who are out on extramural punishment are still regarded as prisoners.

She added that they are not supposed to administer corporal punishment on anyone.

She said they are only supposed to do cleaning in government offices and manual work.

Masire said they would find out why the extramural prisoner is lashing buttocks at the Mogoditshane Customary Court because the practice must come to a stop.

A law lecturer at the University of Botswana (UB), Keneilwe Lekoba said the law is silent on who should administer corporal punishment. She said it is not clear who has the jurisdiction to apply the punishment. Lekoba who was once a magistrate, said when she had sentenced people to corporal punishment, she did not know who applied it. But the prosecutor had to ensure that the court order had been executed.

Mmegi, 2002

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