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COVID 19: Counting down the lockdown family “social” costs  

COVID-19--Counting-down-the-lockdown-family-“social”-costs--

Defilement has gone up to unprecedented levels during the State of Emergency, specifically in the just ended extreme social distancing period as declared by President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Therefore, Masisi’s move to put the country on lockdown from the 2nd of April to the 22nd of May 2020, has come with a price to pay by way of dreadful repercussions. President Masisi authorized extreme social distancing first for a period of 28 days and later extended it to three more weeks which partly formed part of easing of restrictions in a phased out manner and logic.

Statistics turned up by WeekendPost this week indicate that defilement was on the rise during this period as some undependable parents, guardians and elders were locked up in their homes with children/ minors.

This culminated in the country recording 60 cases of defilement in March just before lockdown, and the number increased to 65 during the heat of extreme social distancing in April, and further escalating in May to a whopping 78.

Botswana Police Service (BPS) therefore caution that parents and guardians alike, should be encouraged to always sensitise their children about their vulnerabilities, especially when they feel their safety is being compromised.

“The topic of legal consent age should be promoted at family level to reduce possibilities of incidents of defilement, those who seem to be wayward should be made aware of consequences and what that may mean to their future,”  the Police point out as a comment in light of the disturbing statistics.

Stock theft also went through the ceiling

In addition to defilement, stock theft cases also skyrocketed from 70 in March, to a high of 141 in the middle of the lockdown month of April. It however went down a bit to 82 cases in May as restrictions were eased. This is attributed to farmers having difficulty and not being able to access their farms during the period.

“Since beginning of the year, April recorded the highest number of stock theft cases and this is mainly attributable to the fact that most owners were affected by restriction of movement, as thieves capitalized on this and committed stock theft offences during the absence of the owners,” the Police stated.

Rape cases were fluctuating during the lockdown

In other offences, the Police also recorded 132 cases of rape in March and the number decreased to 49 in April, before they increased again to 52 in May. Murder went down from 18 in March and 12 in April to 7 in May, at the time the lockdown was closing up.

With regard to ‘threat to kill’, in March 39 cases were registered while 29 in April and slightly going up in May with 30. In terms of suicide, the statistics indicate that there were 24 in March, cases then went down to 16 and maintained the number in May.

54 persons were recorded missing in March, 46 in April and lastly May only 33 were recorded throughout the country.

Police also nabbed thousands who violated COVID-19 regulations

Still during the period of lockdown due to Corona Virus there were 502 people that were nabbed by the police after entering at un-gazetted points across the border line. In addition, 1577 was also registered for cases of unlawful brewing and sale of traditional liquor during the lockdown period.

A whopping 12 109 were arrested for unlawful movement while they were not essential service cadres and therefore supposed to be indoors. For violation of transport permit, the police registered 278 cases, with 140 for unlawful gatherings of more than two persons.

There were also 246 cases of prohibited sale of tobacco, 16 for unlawful transportation of tobacco as well as 12 who operated outside limitation of hours of trade. The statistics were recorded between phases 1, 2 and 3 of lockdown from 2 April to 3 June 2020.

Other offences reduced because most criminals were in-doors – Police

Other crimes that were also committed include armed robbery registering 63 in March, 23 in April and 22 in May; while in terms of robbery in general, there were 25 cases in March, 5 and 3 then were recorded in April and May respectively.

Additionally, house breaking and theft saw 104 cases registered in March while 90 in April and 85 in May. For burglary and theft, there were 67 cases in March, with 39 in April followed by 47 in May. 69 and 63 cases were also noted in March and April for store breaking and theft with 36 recorded in May.

According to the Police, the majority of offences in the categories realized reductions, with the exception of burglary and theft. “The reductions in robberies could mainly be due to the fact that would – be victims were by then mostly in-doors,” Police pointed out.

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State forged Kgosi’s arrest warrant

22nd July 2021
FORMER DIS BOSS: ISAAC KGOSI

In a classic and shocking case of disgrace and dishonour to this country, the law enforcement agencies are currently struggling to cover up a damaging and humiliating scandal of having conspired to forge the signature of a Palapye Chief Magistrate, Rebecca Motsamai in an unlawful acquisition of the much-publicised 2019 warrant of arrest against Isaac Kgosi, the former director of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS).

The cloak-and-dagger arrest was led by the DIS director, Brigadier Peter Magosi supported by the Botswana Police, Botswana Defence Force (BDF), with the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) which accused Kgosi of tax evasion, in the backseat.

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UDC parties discuss by-elections

22nd July 2021
UDC

Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) constituent members are struggling to reach an agreement over the allocation of wards for the imminent ward by-elections across the country.

Despite a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) and Alliance for Progressives (AP) are said to be active, but the nitty-gritties are far from being settled.

The eight bye-elections will be a precursor of a somewhat delayed finalisation of the brittle MoU. The three parties want to draw a plan on how and who will contest in each of the available wards.

This publication has gathered that the negotiations will not be a run off the mill because there is already an impasse between the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) which is a UDC constituent and AP (currently negotiating to join umbrella).

The by-elections joint committee met last week at Cresta President Hotel in a bid to finalise allocation but nothing tangible came out of the gathering, sources say.

The cause of the stalemate according to those close to events, is the Metsimotlhabe Ward which the two parties have set their eyes on.

In 2019, he ward was won by Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Andrew Sebobi who unfortunately died in a tragic accident in February last year.

Sebobi had convincingly won by 1 109 votes in the last elections; and was trailed by Sephuthi Thelo of the UDC trailed him with 631 votes; while Alliance for Progressives’ Innocent Moamogwe got 371 votes.

Thelo is a BCP candidate and as per UDC norm, incumbency prevails meaning that the BCP will contest since they were runners up. On the other hand, AP has also raised its hand for the same.

“AP asked for it on the basis that they have a good candidate but BCP did not agree to that request also arguing they have a better contestant,” one UDC member confided to this publication.

Notwithstanding Metsimotlhabe Ward squabble, it is said the by-election talks are almost a done deal, with Botswana National Front (BNF) tipped to take Boseja South ward in Mochudi East constituency. Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) will be awarded Tamasane Ward in Lerala/Maunatlala constituency, sources say.

“But the agreement has to be closed by National Executive Committee (NEC),” emphasized the informant.

The NEC is said to have been cautioned not to back the wrong horse but rather rate with reason and facts.

UDC President, Duma Boko has told this publication that, “allocation is complete with two wards already awarded but with only one yet to be finalized,” he could not dwell into much details as to which party got what and the reasons for the delay in finalisation.

Chairperson of the by-elections committee, Dr. Phenyo Butale responded to this publication regarding the matter: “As AP we contested and as you may be aware we signed the MoU with UDC and BPF to collaborate on bye-elections. The opposition candidate for all bye-elections will be agreed by these parties and that process is still ongoing,” he said when asked if AP is interested on the ward and how far with the talks on bye-elections.

Butale, a former Gaborone Central Member of Parliament, who is also AP Secretary General continued to say, “As the chairperson of the bye-elections committee we are still seized with that matter. We should also do some consultations with the local structures. Once the process is complete we will issue a notice for now we cannot talk about the other two while the other is still pending the other one”.

Butale further clarified: “There is no such thing as AP and BCP not in agreement. It is an issue of signatories discussing and determining the opposition candidates across the three wards.”

Apart from the three wards, there are five more council wards that UDC is yet to allocate to cooperating partners.

FROM PALAPYE MEET: BPP CAUTION NEC MEMBERS  

With the UDC cheerful from last weekend’s meeting in Palapye, the meeting however was very tense on the side of both BCP and BNF, with only BPP flexing its muscle and even lashing out.

BCP going into the meeting, had promised to ask difficult questions to the UDC NEC.

BCP VP and also acting Secretary General, Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, presented their qualms which were addressed by UDC Chairperson Motlatsi Molapisi, informants say.

It is said Molapisi is fed up and concerned by some UDC members especially those in the NEC who ‘wash party’s dirty linen in public’.

Insiders say the veteran politician cautioned the NEC members that they “will not expel any party but individuals who tarnish the image of the UDC.”

It is not the first time BPP play a paternalistic role as it once expressed its discontent with BCP in 2020, saying it should never wash UDC linen in public.

At first it is said, BPP, the oldest political formation in Botswana, claims disappointment on BCP stance that UDC should be democratised especially by sharing their stand with the media. Again, BPP was not happy with BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando’s decision to air his personal views on social media regarding the merger of UDC party.

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DIS infiltrates Police fingerprint system

22nd July 2021
Makgope

Botswana Police Service (BPS) Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe, has of late been dousing raging fires from various quarters of society following the infiltration of the police fingerprint system by the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS), WeekendPost has learnt.

Fresh information gleaned from a number of impeccable sources, points to a pitiable working relationship between the two state organs. Cause of concern is the DIS continuous big brother role to an extent that it is now interfering with other institutions’ established mandates.

BPS which works closely with the DIS has been left exasperated by the works of the institution formed in 2008. It is said, the DIS through its Information Technology (IT) experts in collusion with some at BPS forensics department managed to infiltrate the Fingerprint system.

The infiltration, according to those in the know, was for the DIS to “teach a lesson” to some who are on their radar. It is said the DIS is playing and fighting dirty to win the fights they have lost before.

By managing to hack the police finger print system, a number of renowned businessmen and other politically exposed persons found their fingers in the system. What surprised the victims is the fact that they have never been charged of any wrongdoing by the police and they were left reeling in shock to learn that their fingers are on the data-base of criminals.

In fact, some of those who their fingerprints were falsely included in the records of those on the wrong side of law learnt later when other errands demanded their fingerprints.

“We learnt later when we had to submit and buy some documents and we were very shocked,” one politician who is also a businessman confided to this publication this week.

“We then learn that there are some fabricated criminality recorded for us, as to when did we commit those remained secret to the police, but then we had to engage our lawyers on the matter and that is when we were cleared,” said the politician-cum- tenderpreneur.

The lawyers have confirmed engaging the police and that the matters were settled in a gentlemen’s agreement and concluded.

All these happened behind the scenes with the police top brass oblivious only to be confronted by the irked lot, police sources also add. The victimized group who most of them have been fighting lengthy battles with the DIS read malice and did not blink when it was revealed that these were done by the DIS.

“And it was clear that they (DIS) are the ones in this dirty war which we don’t understand. Remember when we sue, it will be the Police at the courts not the DIS and that is why we agreed to a ceasefire more so they also requested that be kept under carpet,” said the victim.

Nonetheless, the Police through its spokesperson Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, briefly said: “we do not have any system that has been hacked.” On the other hand DIS mouthpiece Edward Robert was not in office this week to comment on the matter.

Reports however say DIS boss, Peter Magosi, who most of the victims accuse of the job, is said to have met his police counterpart Makgophe to put the matter to bed.

COVID-19 RAVAGES POLICE

As frontline workers, Police have not escaped the wrath of Covid-19. Already the numbers of those infected has reached the highest of high and they suggest that they be priorities on vaccine rollout.

“Our job is complicated, firstly we arrest including those who are non-compliant to Covid protocols and we go to accidents and many more. These put us at risk and it seems our superiors are not bothered,” said one police officer this week.

The cops further complain about that working spaces are small, as such expose them to contact the virus.

“Some tests positive and go for quarantine while the rest of the unit will be left without even test carried out. If at all the bosses are serious all the police officers should every now and then be subjected to testing or else we will be no more because of the virus,” added another officer based in Gaborone.

The government has since placed teachers on the priority list for the vaccines, it remains to be seen whether the police, who also man road blocks, will be considered.

“But our bosses should convince the country leadership about this, if not then we are doomed,” concluded a more senior officer.

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