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Judicial CP - April 2005

Corpun file 15473


Mmegi, Gaborone, 8 April 2005

Corporal punishment extended to women

Individuals up to the age of 50, including women, can now be sentenced to flogging in Botswana, according to new legislation in the pipeline. The Customary Courts Amendment Bill, approved by parliament last week, allows chiefs administering traditional courts to sentence men and women up to the age of 50 years to corporal punishment.

Earlier this year the African Commission on Human and People's Rights called for an end to the use of "inhuman and degrading" corporal and capital punishment.

Botswana has argued that corporal punishment reduces overcrowding in its prisons. With 6,160 inmates, Botswana has almost double the number of prisoners its jails have been designed to hold.

While many Batswana have welcomed the bill, it has also been criticised by human rights organisations and opposition political parties. Botswana's constitution prohibits inhuman and degrading punishment, but makes exceptions allowing corporal punishment and the death penalty.

The Botswana Centre for Human Rights (Ditshwanelo) underlined the fact that the country was a signatory to the UN conventions on elimination of torture, and civil and political rights.

"This means that Botswana must not expose individuals to the dangers of torture, or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, by way of forced return, extradition, expulsion or refoulement," the rights advocacy group said in a statement.

By retaining corporal punishment, Ditshwanelo said, Botswana has acted contrary to its development blueprint, Vision 2016, which calls for a "compassionate, just and caring nation" by the year 2016.  (IRIN)

Mmegi, 2002

Corpun file 18332


Mmegi, Gaborone, 27 April 2005

Player whipped for assaulting referee

By Chandapiwa Baputaki


FRANCISTOWN: Nico United player, Eric Molebatsi was whipped at the Monarch Customary Court on Monday for assaulting a referee last Saturday.

Acting central police station commander, assistant superintendent Onkemetse Mothalawapitse told Mmegi Sport yesterday that Molebatsi was punished following a conviction on a charge of common assault. He was given four strokes for beating up the referee during Nico United's 1-0 loss to TAFIC in Francistown.

The game between visiting Nico and TAFIC last Saturday was always going to be tense given the recent relationship between the two sides. However, the widespread violence that erupted was unexpected. Selebi Phikwe side Nico had fully rubbed Matjimenyenga the wrong way by grabbing a number of its players at the start of the season. Majombolo added salt into a festering injury when it later snatched coach Guston Mutobo from TAFIC. Thus when the two sides met last Saturday the stage had long been set for an explosive affair. The smoking powder-keg burst in the dying minutes of the second half when referee Otsile Gaboinewe was getting ready to issue a second yellow card to Nico's Monametsi "Sunday" Kelebale. The player had been booked for rough play and landed in trouble a second time when he exchanged words with the referee after he was caught offside. When the referee went for his cards, Nico striker, Molebatsi, made a very violent and muscular intervention. When the referee did not heed what he was saying and tried to pull out a card, Molebatsi held his hands tightly in an attempt to block him. The referee tried to resist but the player choked him with a vice-like grip on the neck and then sent him sprawling to the ground with blows to the head.

The official was rescued from further punishment and whisked to the dressing room as Molebatsi bayed for his blood. Things happened so fast but this did not prevent the fans from engaging in a free-for-all. They jumped into the field and TAFIC fans sealed the gate in an attempt to attack Molebatsi who was being led off the pitch. The player was taken to the Central Police Station where he showed remorse. "I have made a mistake and I hope that he forgives me. There is nothing that I can really say because I just acted on the spur of the moment. There were many mistakes happening in the field and he let them pass and I could not contain my temper as a result," he said.

Nico coach Benedict Bayani said the referee was poor in his handling of the match and invited the assault. "As far as I am concerned, the referee was poor and the assault was started by his poor refereeing. If the referee becomes involved in the game then it becomes a problem," he said.


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