The mother of Gorata Keorapetse Keteng, former student at Ledumadumane Community Junior Secondary School is suing the Ministry of Basic Education in the sum of P2 million saying they have caused the death of her child by forcing her to participate in a physical exercise.
The mother, Tolani Keteng is demanding P1 million in damages for grave emotional distress and grief resulting from the death of her child, which death she said was caused by wrongful treatment meted by the teachers on the child in forcing her to exercise when unwell; and another P1 million for emotional trauma and suffering resulting from the wrongful conduct of one Raphael Setlhare, the School Head: Setlhare told her that her child’s death was no special than any other.
The deceased’s mother has through her attorney, Kgosietsile Ngakaagae of Ngakaagae & Company filed a statutory notice to the ministry. He said the child had on the fateful day complained about her health condition but was forced to participate in physical exercise and practice. “The child’s complaints were dismissed on the basis that, ‘ga a lwalwe, o dira bokgarebe’ and that her condition was or could be spiritual,” states the legal documents by Ngakaagae.
The papers also states that the teachers thereupon realizing that the child was in a critical condition dumped her at her house and neglected to take her to hospital. “The teachers owed the child a duty of care as guardians and failed to discharge such duty in the course of their duties resulting in the death of the child.”
The papers further states that as a result of this, the mother has suffered constant emotional trauma and grief and has known no peace since the death of her child last year. She continually loses sleep and breaks down emotionally according to the papers. The papers further suggests that failure by the ministry to heed the mother’s request for an investigation has meant that she gets no closure and her prolonged exacerbated the grief.
The ministry has in response refuted the allegations. They argue that the deceased was never at any given time forced to participate in any physical exercise and practice and that she never complained about her health condition to the responsible officer. “Further the allegation of remarks imputed to the School Head is completely incorrect. The School Head, cut his leave short, organized memorial service for the deceased, and requested a bus to transport those interested to attend the funeral.
At all material time, the School Head never uttered any sinister remarks,” stated the Attorney General’s Chambers in the papers, adding that, “We are going to be defending the suit should it be filed with the court.” According to Ngakaagae the child died the same day, just a few hours after the alleged exercise.
High Commissioner of the Federal Government of Nigeria to Botswana, His Excellency Umar Zainab Salisu, has challenged President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi to move swiftly and lobby Africa’s richest man, Nigerian Billionaire, Aliko Dangote to invest in Botswana.
Speaking during a meeting with President Masisi at Office of President on Thursday Zainab Salisu said Dangote has expressed massive interest in setting up billion dollar industries in Botswana. “We have a lot of investors who wish to come and invest in Botswana , when we look at Botswana we don’t see Botswana itself , but we are lured by its geographic location , being in the centre of Southern Africa presents a good opportunity for strategic penetration into other markets of the region,” said Salisu.
As murder cases and violent incidents involving couples and or lovers continue to be recorded daily, Specially Elected Member of Parliament, Dr Unity Dow has called for more funding of non-governmental organizations and accelerated action from government to come up with laws that could inhibit would-be perpetrators of crimes related to Gender Based Violence (GBV).
Just after Dr Dow had deposited her views on this subject with this reporter, a young man in Molepolole opened fire on a married woman he was having an affair with; and ended her life instantly. While it is this heinous cases that get projected to the public space, the former minister argues that the secrecy culture is keeping other real GBV cases under wraps in many spaces in the country.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said there is GBV all the time in all kinds of places. “We have become accustomed to stories of rapes, marital rapes, defilement of children, beatings and psychological violence and even killings,” she said.
Gender-based violence is a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality, Dow is worried that there is absolutely no social punishment for perpetrators; they will continue to have the same friends, jobs, wives, homes, as before. Yet another factor, she said, is that there is little or no “justice” for victims of GBV.
The renowned activist said justice for GBV victims is not just the jailing of the perpetrator. “Justice for victims means an agile, victim-friendly, accessible (time, money and procedures) and restorative justice system.”
Asked what could be leading to a spike in Gender Based Violence cases or incidents, she observed that there is no one factor to which this spike can be attributed. “The most obvious factor is stress as a result of economic distress and or poverty. Poverty makes one vulnerable and open to compromises that they would otherwise not make. For perpetrators with anger management issues, economic stress leads to lashing out to those closest to them. Another factor is the disintegration of families and family values,” she opined.
According to Dow, no government anywhere in the world is doing enough, period. “We know the places and spaces where women and girls are unsafe. We know the challenges they face in their attempts to exit those spaces and places.” The former Judge of the High Court said GBV undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in the culture of silence.
Asked what could be done to arrest GBV cases, Dow said it is critical to involve and fund civil society organizations. She observed that much of the progress done in the area of women’s human rights was during the time when Botswana had strong and funded civil society organizations.
“The funding dried up when Botswana was declared a middle-income country but unfortunately external funding was not replaced by local funding,” she acknowledged.
Further Dow said relevant government institutions must be funded and strengthened.
“Thirdly, create a society in which it is not okay to humiliate, rape, beat or kill women. You create this by responding to GBV the same way we have responded to livestock theft. We need to create agile mechanisms that hear cases quickly and allow for the removal of suspected perpetrators from their homes, work places, boards, committees, etc.”
The former Minister said the much anticipated Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Gender Based Violence will have its work cut out for it. According to Dow, GBV is not just a justice issue, it’s not just a gender issue, but rather an issue that cuts across health, education, labour, economic, housing and politics. “As long as any one believes it is someone else’s problem, we will all have the problem,” she said.
In her view, Dow said every work, educational and other place must have a GBV Policy and/or Code of Conduct. “It is important that we acknowledge that the majority of men are law-abiding. The problem is their silence, in the face of injustice,” she observed.
The State has chosen to ignore intents by kingpins in the P100 billion scandal to sue for a combined P85 million as tables turn against the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the matter.
Key players in the matter; the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Bank of Botswana (BoB) have eroded the prospects of success following the duo’s institutions’ appearance before parliamentary committees recently.