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Judicial CP - May 2006
Mmegi, Gaborone, 11 May 2006
A village choking under crime
By Nomsa Ndlovu
A crease displays on his forehead as he leans on the open window to get the fresh breeze coming through. Even the grin that he fakes is not enough to hide the contours of sadness displayed on his face. Like all crime prevention stakeholders, headman Oleyo Ledimo and acting chief representative in Maun is concerned about the state of affairs. "Theft and lawlessness has become rampant in this village, starting right here in our offices. I assure you that once you forget your mobile phone here, you cannot expect to find it again. I mean here in this office that is run by law enforcers," he says.
It is midday, after the court session at Goo-Tawana Kgotla where Ledimo and his counterparts chief sub-selective Labane Meno and acting chief Representative Charles Letsholathebe had been presiding over several theft cases since 8am. The three dikgosi never spare the rod to spoil the child. A thief or a foul-mouthed person is only let loose after three to five lashes on bare buttocks depending on the severity of the case. Ledimo reveals that his court tries at least 50 cases of theft per week. "Law enforcement has to be harnessed because the society is getting out of control," he said.
Last Friday, acting paramount chief Kealitile Moremi summoned an urgent Kgotla meeting where the District Commissioner Bernadette Malala told the community about a visit to her office by representatives from the German embassy. "They had with them a list of complaints from German people who had visited Maun and fallen victim to thugs. Therefore, they appealed to me to find a way of curbing the situation or else they place placards all over German alerting companies that organise tourism trips to Botswana that Maun is no safe place to be visited," she said.
Maun police district commanding officer, Tebogo Tokwe says that crime is getting out of control in the village. His district now rates number three in crime countrywide behind Mogoditshane and Gaborone. Tokwe says most crime in his district occur in Maun village. "If Maun was turned into a town, all streets are going to have lights and thieves wouldn't take advantage of the dark night," he suggests.
But DC Malala says there is only one way forward. The village should make it a policy that all those that have been found guilty by the courts of law be sent for lashing before they can serve their sentence. "I don't see anyone interfering with the policy of our village if we are doing this for the good of our country," she said.
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