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MAN JAILED FOR TOUCHING COP’S BUTTOCKS

A youthful man was left to rue his wandering hands after being sentenced to three months imprisonment for touching an on-duty female police officer’s buttocks.

Although the punishment seems stiff, 30-year-old Richard Mochanang was in fact a lucky man as he had originally been sentenced to six months for the offence.

The Mmopane man’s half-successful appeal was heard before Bakwena Paramount Chief, Kgosi Kgari Sechele III at Molepolole Customary Court last Thursday.

Found guilty of common nuisance, Mochaneng claimed the officer whose bum he groped was in fact his lover. He further declared that touching her ‘bountiful booty’ was something he had done many times before.

Outlining further reasons for appealing his sentence, Mochanang told the court he was tried without prosecution issuing him with a ‘Form 1’ and notifying him of the charges.

“I was tried while in the dark not knowing what I am being charged for. I was denied the right to language of my choice as I use Sekgalagadi and the court used Setswana. Thirdly the witnesses were all police officers, no other witness was called,” he said.

Continuing his defence and speaking in perfect Setswana, the condemned man went on to say, “Lekgotla le atlhotse kgang e ka bosupi jo bololea, kgosi o ne a ntse bogale fela (The court judged the case without enough evidence, the chief was fuming). Ditshwanelo tsame di ne di gatakwa ka dinao (My rights were stamped by the feet).”

Mochanang also argued that the complainant and the investigating officer had contradicted each other with their testimonies.

“The investigating officer witnessed that I touched the complainant’s buttocks as we were passing each other, the complainant on her way from the tuck shop and me going to the tuck shop. But the complainant said I touched her buttocks while she was standing and not as the investigating officer stated. The evidence was not concrete which shows that the case holds no water,” he maintained.

Before passing sentence, Kgosi Kgari III noted the matter was first tried in April 15th and adjourned to April 23rd when the accused requested the presiding chief to recuse himself from the case.

Proceedings resumed five months later, on September 12th. The chief reasoned this was a long enough period for the accused to have prepared for the case even without the ‘Form 1’ being issued.

Kgari III also dismissed Mochanang’s language barrier argument, noting he had spoken in fluent Setswana throughout his appeal.

“I want to rebuke you for touching the female police officer’s buttocks whilst on duty. Now I will be lenient and reduce the sentence to three months,” concluded the chief.

It was a sentence that left Mochanang with his hands on his head in despair – “At least he isn’t touching anyone’s bum!” noted an onlooker cheekily.

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Elephant mortality in Okavango rises to 110, Anthrax ruled out

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Wildlife and National Parks department has ruled out Anthrax as a killer disease for elephants along some villages in the Okavango delta.

As of Friday last week, at least 110 dead elephants were discovered in areas of Seronga, Gunotsoga and Eretsha in the past three weeks and were suspected to have died from Anthrax.

However the Anthrax laboratory tests have come back negative, leaving the government departments searching for more answers. 

“Laboratory results have ruled out Anthrax and we are awaiting more results,” explained regional Wildlife coordinator in Maun, Dimakatso Ntshebe.

Ntshebe said his department through the help of veterinary department services are still conducting further tests to find out whether or not this mysterious disease is not a result of poisoning.

The disease according to Ntshebe causes the giant’s front legs to weaken and therefore the unwell animal walks in uncoordinated manner and ultimately drops to its death.

“We don’t know what could be the cause of this disease but we are working around the clock to find out and hopefully work on the cure,” added Ntshebe.

Some samples are to be sent to South Africa for further testing. “We could have taken other samples to the neighbouring Zimbabwe, but because of COVID-19 that brought everything to almost a standstill, we could not send them,” Ntshebe explained before adding that, “before coronavirus outbreak, Botswana and Zimbabwe were in talks and have entered into some agreements including exportation and importation of certain medications, but we have not yet concluded the matter regarding samples, that is why we have not been able to send samples to Zimbabwe.”

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SADC Executive Secretary disturbed by obstacles in movement of goods

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The Executive Secretary of SADC, Dr Stegomena Lawrence Tax, has cautioned member states that any lack of cooperation among then during the COVID19 era has potential to reverse the gains made in the last decades.

Addressing a virtual SADC Council of Ministers meeting this week, Lawrence Tax said that the regional ministers approved Guidelines on Harmonization and Facilitation of Movement of Essential Goods and Services across borders early April. 

She said that whilst the guidelines have played a critical role in facilitation of movement of essential goods, there are notable obstacles that have been noted by the Secretariat.

The obstacles include non-compliance/non recognition of regional legal frameworks; uncoordinated operations at the port of entry among border agencies; lack of harmonization and synchronization of policies and procedures among, and between member states; unilateral decisions outside agreed framework; as well as different approaches to deal with epidemiological challenges,” she said. 

She added that; “all these are resulting in increased cost of doing business, and negatively affecting the implementation of national and regional programmes”.

She advised that there is need to have measures, and coordinated approach in place since the region is in a post lockdown period since the transportation of non-essential goods and services will be resuming.

Lawrence Tax added that COVID19 is a global pandemic and that the SADC regional approach should expand to COMESA-EAC-SADC tripartite and eventually to other continental blocs.

“The Secretariat is already working with COMESA and EAC, specifically, in terms of harmonizing and synchronizing regulations and procedures for movement of goods and services under the Tripartite arrangement. We need to move in unison and avoid unilateral decisions, specifically with regards to cross border movement of goods and services,” she said.

According to the Executive Secretary, the regional office has already conducted a socio-economic impact analysis of COVID19 on the region and the results have shown that the pandemic will impact negatively across many socio and economic sectors.

“The decline in the global economy is projected to lead to a decline in commodity prices, increase in debt and significant contraction of the SADC economies in 2020. This will reverse the gains on industrial development and trade that the region has made in the last couple of years,” Lawrence Tax said.

On the flip side,  the region’s International Cooperating Partners have made pledges to mitigate the impact of COVID19 pandemic on its economy. 

“To date, the Secretariat has secured Euro 7.3 million from the German Government; Euro3.6million from European Union, Euro 190,000.00 under the GIZ/Africa Union Commission, whereas the African Development Bank (AfDB)  has considered a support UA 7 million. Engagements with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) are also at an advanced stage,” the Executive Secretary said.

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