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BDF’s weekend sex rule infuriates soldiers

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ARMY ORDER:BDF soldiers have had to contend with the rule on partners for 20 year

Botswana Defence Force (BDF) authorities are alleged to be busy cracking the whip at one of the army barracks in Gaborone. All women dating Skwata boys have forcibly been thrown out of the barracks recently, The Midweek Sun has learnt.

According to information from BDF Village Camp, the management has tightened the leash and no lover is allowed to enter the barracks during weekdays. Lovers are only allowed to visit during weekends and must return latest Sunday evening. Failure to abide by the rules results in the army men and ladies being heavily punished. Several army men and women were impassioned when discussing their situation with The Midweek Sun. They were however quick to seek anonymity as it is against their code of conduct to speak to the media on issues of army protocol.

“They only allow married couples in there, as for the rest of us who are still in the dating phase, we are forced to see our partners only during weekends.” said one of the aggrieved soldiers.
The soldiers said the law has long been there, but added that it is often relaxed to a point they completely forget that it exists.They said it is common knowledge that their partners are requested to register their names at the camp entrance and they often stay in camp for as long as they want. Some of them had even permanently accommodated their lovers at the barracks and they were forced to start hunting for accommodation just recently.

“It is only when the ‘clean -up campaign’ is in full swing that we are starved of sex, during these trying times we are forced to either masturbate at night or have sex in broad daylight during weekdays because they can’t come here in the evenings to even spend a night.” When reached, the BDF Director of Protocol and Public Relations Major Fana Maswabi said, “I have been with the BDF for more than 20 years and the rule has always been clear that no boyfriend or girlfriend allowed at the barracks.”Maswabi explained that the rule has to be respected because during inspection times, such are bound to happen. However, he could not confirm if indeed outsiders have recently been removed from the barracks.

Maswabi excused himself from providing further details on the matter saying he is on leave and requested that the BDF Public Affairs Office be asked instead. Nevertheless, his colleague Tebo Dikole demanded that a questionnaire or fax be sent to their office. It is normally the ladies who are affected by this campaign as the army is male dominated. “This is how our boyfriends end up cheating on us because we are not allowed to satisfy their sexual needs. They end up sexing their army colleagues and there is nothing we can do about it,” noted one of the affected and concerned ladies. The lady went on to say that the public is often quick to label soldiers as heart breakers, however most are unaware that the army boys are actually sex-starved. “They go on trips that last close to three months or even more and when they are home, they are subjected to a two-minute sex game.”

Meanwhile, an independent investigation carried out by this publication proved that the law does not sit well with many soldiers. It appears that the BDF is currently enforcing the law only at Village Camp for now. One soldier at the SSKB barracks said they are aware of the rule and they are often told to remove their partners from the camp. He admitted that many of his colleagues are often labelled sex freaks because they are not allowed to cohabit saying it was even torturous when dating someone from far areas. Another soldier based in Selibe-Phikwe argued that the law is now outdated and again it infringes on their rights. “We cannot be told when to sex our partners. That is just wrong, none of those guys has ever abided by that rule, imagine a 40 or even 30-year old being told to have sex only during the weekend,” he quipped.

The clearly unhappy soldier even went on to say that the law is outdated and should be lifted because they view it as nothing but abuse of soldiers. “It was formulated during the times of former president Ian Khama.” Some soldiers have told this publication that the removing of their partners from the barracks was a phase that will soon pass. They argued that not all of them can afford marriage or will get married anytime soon and it is unfair that they are denied to have sex freely.

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Botswana urged to sign Maputo

Keletso Thobega

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Botswana is one of the five countries that have been advised to sign the Maputo Protocol. Botswana, Egypt and Morocco are the only three African countries that have not signed this Protocol. Adopted in 2003 and implemented in 2005, the Maputo Protocol is a ground-breaking protocol on women and girls’ human rights, both within Africa and beyond.

It compensates for the shortcomings in the 1981 African Charter with respect to women and girls rights. It includes 32 articles on women and girls’ rights, and also provides an explicit definition of discrimination against women, which was missing in the African Charter.

The Maputo Protocol defines discrimination as “any distinction, exclusion or restriction or any differential treatment based on sex and whose objectives or effects compromise or destroy the recognition, enjoyment or the exercise by women, regardless of their marital status, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all spheres of life.”

The State of African Women Report 2018 stipulates that more still needs to be done to implement laws and commitments to the rights of women and girls in African societies. While there has been significant improvements in addressing issues affecting women and girls over the years, the report notes that commitment to girls and women’s right is still lagging behind.

The report highlights that:
“Three in five countries in Africa do not criminalise rape, young women aged 15-24 in sub-Saharan Africa are 2.5 times more likely to be infected by HIV in comparison to men in the same age group, more than half of maternal deaths worldwide occur in sub-Saharan Africa and that gender based violence and sexual assault still affects women more”.

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Mama Rampa, the Good

Yvonne Mooka

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NOBLE CALLING: Martha Rampa on a mission to rescue the underprivileged

Martha Rampa, project manager at AAP Home Based Care and Family Life Programme quit her nursing job over ten years ago to attend to the needs of orphans, poor and sick.

AAP has 3119 orphans and underprivileged children from South East, Kweneng, Kanye and Kgalagadi districts. The Non-Governmental Organisation aims at supporting, providing food, clothing, shelter, education, nursing care, counselling and supporting destitute, terminally ill patients and orphaned children.

According to Rampa, the thrust of the practice is the link between the patient and the clinical management services. “It is a person-centred approach, which ensures that patients receive the appropriate service in a supportive and effective manner. Destitute and orphaned children have over time become integral part AAP programmes,” she said.

Last Saturday, she organised an appreciation dinner for donors. It was a colourful event where beneficiaries had also come to testify about the way their lives have changed since they were enrolled.

One of the young girls said that she had given up on life as she was from a poor family. The under 15 girl said that through AAP, she managed to continue and is exceling at school. A young man under 20 said that he was moved from a settlement where he could not focus on his studies because of his family background.

AAP put him through a different school that has boarding. “At AAP, we call her mama Rampa. She is our mother and we are so blessed to have her,” he said at the event in Gaborone.

The primary aim of AAP is to rehabilitate and develop children in difficult circumstances such as orphaned children, street children, economically poor and socially oppressed children and work for the eradication of child labour and child exploitation.

Rampa said the vision is to help and give many more children a real and loving home which helps them to live and grow up to be free, healthy and independent individuals; to influence behavioural change of individuals, especially those in the realm of sex and family life and to introduce a change that will bring a transformation, which alleviates the impact of HIV/Aids infection and stops the spread of the virus within the community.

She said there were local companies that had committed themselves to giving the children food after every two weeks. Through her gift of counselling, she also assists with providing emotional and spiritual support including counselling to orphans, destitute, terminally ill and the poor. She also prays for them.

She said that since the project started in 2000, the focus was on the care of HIV/AIDS patients. Volunteers were trained to take care of terminally ill patients in their homes. “Due to lack of funds in supporting the volunteers, for three years only 45 were full time serving in the project with great results.

“A networking relationship was established with Ministry of Health/AIDS department and Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs as well as other NGOs like BOCAIP, Clinics around Gaborone and Church leaders. We effectively communicated our mission to our leaders like Counsellors, Members of Parliament and diKgosi in the areas where we are operating,” she said.

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