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Gov to repatriate 367 Zim refugees



“We’re being forced out!” claim refugees

After a messy repatriation exercise involving Namibian refugees back in September, the government of Botswana finds herself dealing with another possible hot potato.

This time the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security has turned up the heat on 526 Zimbabwean refugees at Dukwi Camp.

Last year the government forcibly repatriated over 1, 000 Caprivians to Namibia after the Court of Appeal gave the green light for their removal.

The exercise, which attracted the attention of world media, was not without teething problems as some Namibians remain incarcerated at the Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants.

Having refused to leave, self-appointed Caprivian spokesperson Felix Kakula as well as Gaspa Machana, Nervous Lutambo, Richard Mosupali and Mikini Smith are still languishing at the centre after their refugee statuses were revoked.

Similarly, the Ministry is facing resistance from some Zimbabwean refugees, most of them members of Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change who fled political persecution during the 2008 violent presidential election.

The Voice has been reliably informed that refugees who were given a deadline of 31 December 2019 to register for voluntary repatriation are now being threatened into signing or face forcible removal.

“They always remind us of what happened to the Namibians, and that we’ll be dragged out of the camp screaming and kicking,” said a concerned refugee who pleaded anonymity.

“Listen, we all know how this will end. We remember that Namibian kids were dragged out of classrooms as they sat for their exams. But for some of us, there’s no other option but to hold off with hope that the Botswana government will have a change of heart,” they added.

The source further claimed the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) is the one pushing for this ‘ill-timed’ repatriation.

“Chief of Mission Arvin Gupta is leading this and at times I feel he’s defying even the government because he doesn’t want to listen or wait until the concerned refugees are at least given a better package,” said the worried youth, who has called Botswana home for the last 12 years.

The source further maintained that after they told Gupta conditions in Zimbabwe are not yet conducive for their safe return, the UNHCR then offered them food rations for three months, transport to the border and US$300 (P3, 000) each.

“It is not enough, but some had to take it because we were threatened with being declared illegal immigrants. Most of those who left will be back here as illegal immigrants. For most of us there is nothing left in Zim, no home, no family and no hope!” they concluded desperately.

Responding to a questionnaire from The Voice, Secretary for Safety and Security-Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security, Pearl Ramokoka explained that the repatriation exercise is being facilitated by the Botswana government and UNHCR.

“So far it is proceeding smoothly,” she insisted.

Ramoroka said out of a total of 526 Zimbabwean refugees who were accommodated in Dukwi, 367 have registered for voluntary repatriation, of which 191 have already been repatriated, with 176 awaiting their turn.

“The ongoing repatriation exercise is for those who have registered for voluntary repatriation. Those who do not register will be managed under applicable Immigration laws and bilateral discussions with the government of Zimbabwe,” responded Ramoroka.

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That’s murder, not ‘balls’ defense– court tells convict



The Gaborone High Court has convicted Boyboy Lesele for the murder of Matshediso Racheru on July 1st, 2015 in Ramotswa.

The bartender was immediately whisked away to prison where he will spend some time before his sentencing next month.

Justice Gabriel Komboni found Lesele guilty after pointing out at loopholes in the accused person’s defence, adding that the prosecution has proven beyond reasonable doubt that he killed the deceased by hitting her with a firewood or log and she died a day later in hospital.

“There is no doubt that the deceased died of the wounds that were caused by the accused person who hit her twice with a blunt object on her head. The deceased sustained two fractures on her skull and there was blood in her brain,” Justice Komboni said in his ruling.

In his Evidence in Chief, Lesele had told the court that he hit his girlfriend after she insulted him as well as his mother, and that she regularly did that when she was drunk.

He said that on the night of the killing, the deceased person who had been drinking with friends at Dinare Bar, had wanted to top up her drunk status by smoking dagga to which he protested.

An argument ensued followed by a physical fight and the deceased grabbed his balls and held tight until he decided to hit her with a nearby firewood, he told the court.

However, State witnesses told the court that they did not hear any argument between the lovebirds despite the proximity of their bedrooms to the fireplace where the killing occurred.

The only eye witness, with whom the deceased had been drinking earlier, told the court that she saw the accused person hit the deceased with the burning log and that she saw burning ashes around Matshediso’s head.

Justice Komboni stated that the accused person’s version of self-defense was an afterthought in that he did not tell the Investigating Officer about how the deceased held tight his balls nor did he go and seek medical attention after the alleged fight.

“This is false. Even if I give the accused the benefit of doubt and assume that the deceased held a grip at his balls, this did not justify the gravity of the assault he inflicted on her. The attack was vicious as there were two fractures on the skull and blood in the brain”.

The judge said that the pathologist report indicates that the accused person used excessive force disproportionate with the pain and the provocation he claims was caused by the deceased.  He pronounced the guilty verdict and revoked Lesele’s bail ordering his immediate arrest. The prosecution and defense will meet again next week when they will argue on whether or not there is existence of extenuating circumstances.

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Police discourage withdrawal of GBV cases



Botswana Police Service has adopted a policy that discourages withdrawal of Gender Based Violence (GBV) related cases after they have been reported.

 Raising concern during the GBV Pitso ya Borre campaign official launch on Valentine’s Day held at Molepolole bus rank, Commissioner of Police Keabetswe Makgophe, said it seemed the police are now being used by some women who report cases only to withdraw them at a later stage.

 He said suspects get incarcerated and later on they face challenges of some intending to sue them for that, also that they have reports of victims being murdered following withdrawal of cases which the public end up blaming them.

“The choice of venue for this launch was mostly influenced by the fact that in the recent past Kweneng District experienced a surge of GBV related cases, mostly murder, rape and assault. The frequency at which murder cases were reported was alarming and brought fear to the residents and shocked the entire country,” said Makgophe at the well attended event.

According to the national statistics on GBV crimes, there were 1208 recorded cases of defilement in 2019 compared to 769 in 2018; indicating a 57 percent increase which is 439.

In her keynote address, the First Lady Neo Jane Masisi, appealed to the chiefs, churches, health practitioners, civil society organisations and the public to help GBV committees and the police in fighting GBV.

She encouraged the police to continue spreading the message across the country

Masisi also promised to continue with her mission in supporting GBV campaigns and also to seek assistance from outside the country.

 Pitso ya Borre campaign kick-started on February 8th, 2020 with educational campaigns targeting churches, schools, cattle posts, various organisations and wider male population.

The BPS took advantage of the mood of the day and distributed the roses to the men to present to their loved ones.

Held under the theme ‘Ending Gender Based Violence Starts With Me # emisakgokgontsho,’ the attendees included Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng, Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Thomas Kagiso Mmusi and other officials.   

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Son of BDP women’s wing SG accused of forging DIS boss signature



Yes I was detained and questioned- Maruapula

A man rumoured to be romantically linked to the reigning Miss Botswana, Oweditse Phirinyane was this week allegedly nabbed and questioned for impersonating a Directorate Of Intelligence Services (DIS) agent.

The suspect, Mompati Maruapula is the son of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) women’s wing secretary General, Neo Maruapula.

He reportedly attracted law enforcement officers’s attention by uttering a false document, complete with a forged signature of the Director General of the DIS Peter Magosi as ‘proof” that he was employee of the DIS when he was not.

He allegedly produced the fake proof of employment in an attempt to fraudulently purchase a BMW vehicle limited addition at one of the car dealers in Gaborone, an eyewitness has claimed.

“The car dealership phoned the DIS to confirm and that is when law enforcement agencies were alerted and a sting operation was set in motion to nab him,” the source further narrated.

He was then told to come back at 2Pm for the car only for him to find security agents waiting to catch him.

Asked to comment on the incident Maruapula explained that he was not charged but simply questioned.

“They (Police) said they would get back to me. I have not yet been charged with any crime. I was briefly detained and released yes. It is true,” he said in a brief interview.

The DIS when quizzed about the matter referred The Voice to The Botswana Police.

“I cannot confirm nor deny your questions. Please liase with the Police for a full brief,” DISS spokesperson Edward Robert said.

Miss Botswana also refused to comment saying she would like to keep her private life private and quickly handed the phone to the recently divorced Maruapula who was in her company at the time.

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