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Judicial CP - February 2006

Corpun file 17430, Harare, 7 February 2006

45 Zimbabwean Immigrants Flogged By Sjamboks In Botswana

Contributed by: correspondent

SOME 45 Zimbabweans who illegally entered Botswana were each given three lashes in public at a customary law court in that country while six women claim to have been raped by soldiers before being deported. According to the Mmegi, a Botswana daily paper, the humiliating punishment was part of a joint operation by that country's police and army to crackdown on illegal immigrants, mainly Zimbabweans working or selling wares in villages around Francistown.

The Mmegi said the operation code named "Operation Clean Up" has resulted in the arrest of 552 Zimbabweans so far for entering the neighbouring country without valid travel documents or vending without permits. The spokesman for the operation, Senior Superintendent Boikhutso Dintwa of the Botswana Police said about 552 illegal immigrants were arrested mainly from within and around Borolong village, west of Francistown since January.

"The joint operation between the police, the army, immigration, prisons and other government departments, was conducted house to house," said Supt Dintwa. "We nabbed some of our targets from their work places, where they were employed illegally. Some were travelling in the bush whilst others were from the roadblocks that we mounted."

He said 45 Zimbabweans were tried at the customary law court and given three strokes each. The Supt said some of them paid admission of guilty fines for various offences such as overstaying in that country and selling wares without permits. The arrested illegal immigrants were taken to the Centre for Illegal Immigrants in Francistown, where they were kept for a short period before some of them were deported. Last year Botswana said it was deporting 2 500 Zimbabweans every week. The neighbouring country's politicians also blame the increasing crime rate in their country to an influx of Zimbabwean illegal immigrants.

This has resulted in a number of operations to flush out the illegal immigrants, a situation that has at some instances resulted in the abuse of Zimbabweans legally resident in that country. Botswana has also faced mounting criticism over its decision to erect an electric fence on its border with Zimbabwe ostensibly to control the movement of animals between the two countries. Critics of the move say the fence is meant to control the movement of people between the two countries and mainly targeting Zimbabweans. Zimbabweans who spoke to Zimdaily condemned the move describing it as a primitive act sanctioned by primitive leaders.

"You cannot expect that to happen in a country neighbouring Zimbabwe, this is primitive and can only have been sanctioned by primitive leaders of that country, it flies against human rights, freedom of movement and the dignity of human beings, this calls for investigations and an apology by the Government of that country to those who dignity was injured," said a human rights lawyer in Harare. "It's a gross human rights abuse, you cannot allow that to happen, lashing an adult cannot be expected this day and age," said another human rights lawyer Harrison Nkomo.

Corpun file 17385

Mmegi, Gaborone, 15 February 2006

Envoy defends Botswana's judiciary

By Fraser Mpofu


HARARE: Botswana’s High Commissioner to Zimbabwe, Pelokgale Seloma has denied that Zimbabweans are treated unfairly by his country’s judicial system. He defended Botswana’s judiciary saying that Zimbabweans are given fair trials and are not discriminated.

Seloma, who was posted to Zimbabwe late last year, made the remarks this week when he visited governors of Bulawayo and Matebeleland North Provinces, western Zimbabwe.


Scores of Zimbabweans have been arrested, jailed or flogged at customary courts throughout the country for criminal activities.

“They are treated like any other offenders regardless of nationality.

“Zimbabweans, like everyone else, are always given fair trials if they were arrested for flouting the country’s laws even at customary courts. The proceedings are always recorded and people are given fair trials.”


Seloma clarified that all people convicted of minor offences in Botswana are flogged at customary courts. The customary courts do not discriminate as other nationals, including Batswana are also subjected to flogging.

Seloma said people who are convicted of minor crimes could choose between imprisonment and public flogging. Female offenders are not flogged.

© Mmegi, 2002

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