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Beaten, battered, raped

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After four years of a sustained campaign of psychological, emotional and physical abuse by her ex-husband that was designed, she believes, to make her feel worthless, Jane* left her home with only a blanket and her most prized possession – her daughter. The 35-year-old lecturer at the Gaborone Technical College gave a heart-wrenching testimony of how she survived an abusive marriage against the odds at the St Augustine Theological School recently. She shared how at 19 years old, she was forced to get married after she fell pregnant, after all she had embarrassed her family, herself and the church by falling pregnant out of wedlock. Even before getting married, signs of abuse in the relationship were there according to Jane.

She recalled how, the night before their nuptials, her husband-to-be was nowhere to be found. When he finally resurfaced in the wee hours of the morning, he pushed, shoved, harassed and ruined Jane’s hair as she carried their one year old daughter. “He kept saying how he will ruin my beauty and beat the degree out of me since it’s the one making me crazy,” she narrated. That night, she said, she called her parents wanting to cancel the wedding but all she got was a lecture of how that would embarrass the family. “My mother and uncles said I needed to go ahead with the wedding, whatever issues I had will be addressed after the wedding.” The abuse went on however, day and night, as Jane, a student at the time, balanced school and taking care of their child and home. She was deeply exhausted, depleted and worn. But even worse, was living in a perpetual state of walking on eggshells. “He would go out drinking, come home to harass and beat me then demand sex. If I refused, he would become enraged. It was easier to give in than argue.

Those nights I felt that I was almost being raped,” she said. “Every month I was treated for a sexually transmitted disease.” The night before Jane finally left her husband and the house they lived in for good, he had gone drinking as usual and brought home a woman. She found them frolicking on her bed and without a hint of remorse, he shouted at her and told her how useless and ugly she was. Her daughter saw and heard it all. That’s when she decided enough was enough. She shares her story, not for pity, but believes it’s important to have a conversation about how support structures that are often meant to build a person and the family often fail when it comes to dealing with domestic abuse. Jane, who feels let down and misled by society said, “I’m not a victim but a victor, a warrior. I don’t need you to feel sad for me.

I need you to help me make noise and disrupt the cycle, become a catalyst for change. “We have created an environment where abuse is tolerated and covered up, even here in the church.” Social worker from the Botswana Counseling Association, Keletso Tshekiso also acknowledged that when speaking of domestic violence, and the cultural factors that foment it, one crucial element missing from the discussion has been religion. She said in the years of working with victims of domestic violence, she found it was “extremely common” that women would be “encouraged by the church” to stay in an abusive relationship. “Women in faith communities where divorce is shunned, and deemed shameful, often feel trapped in abusive marriages,” she said. “How do we hope to achieve peace in the world when there is no peace in the home?” she asked the congregants? Tshekiso said it was important to recognise that where there is abuse, the whole family including children, need to be counseled instead of just the couple only.

This is because children who grow up in an abusive environment grow up with the idea that “this is a proper way to interact.” “We have to get almost indignant about violence in the family and not justify it in any way,” she said. *Jane is a pseudonym used to protect the identity of the victim

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VACANCY: President of the UDC

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Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) President, Advocate Sidney Pilane says Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) does not have a President.

He revealed this week that UDC leader, Advocate Duma Boko was given the leadership of the coalition on a temporary arrangement. Advocate Pilane who was addressing the media this week, following the expulsion of his party from the UDC stated that in the buildup to 2014 general elections it was agreed that Advocate Boko should be presidential candidate for UDC, an arrangement that ended at the time when the UDC lost the 2014 general elections.

“It was decided that Botswana National Front (BNF) should be given the presidency so that Advocate Boko could be our presidential candidate. The late Gomolemo Motswaledi of BMD was to be his running mate. We made this arrangement in preparation to taking over state power.

So, all that has passed, we contested and lost so it is all in the past,” said the BMD leader. He stated that constitutionally, the UDC has no president because the president has to be elected during the UDC elective congress. Advocate Pilane pointed out that UDC according to the Constitution should hold its congress every three (3) years.

He stated that even all the members of UDC National Executive Committee have to be elected at the congress and as it stands, “there is no president or Vice Presidents because they were not voted into those positions.”

Advocate Pilane said instead of building the UDC brand their colleagues at Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana National Front have resorted to petty issues. He told the media that the leadership of the two parties have taught their members to insult BMD leadership and its members on social media and any other forum.

He had no kind words for the BCP, calling the party a divisive party that thrives on insults and divisive tendencies. He said the BCP leadership had encouraged its foot soldiers to use social media to insult him and members of the BMD.

According to Advocate Pilane, these are some of the things that have made the two parties remain in opposition for far too long without even coming close to toppling the ruling party. He described them as dishonest people who will plunge the country into chaos and that is why Batswana do not want to give them power.

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VIDEO: A Gaborone hotel Prophet caught in the act

Yvonne Mooka

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In a matter that closely resembles that of a South African Cabinet Minister, Melusi Gigaba’s masturbating video clip, a visiting Zimbabwean Prophet, Ronald El Melchizedek of Altar of Grace this week denied that he has been sending nudes to church sisters and demanding same from them.

In fact, the ‘man of God’ has earned himself the name, ‘Botswana’s Omotoso’ by girls that allege he has sexually exploited them. Pastor Timothy Omotoso is a Nigerian clergyman accused of sexually exploiting over 30 young girls from his church in South Africa.

“He is an Omotoso and even though they hide it at his church, some of us have received messages from him asking for our nudes. Actually, he has asked for my nudes several times,” says one church sister.

The Midweek Sun has gotten hold of a 34 seconds video clip of the youthful prophet playing with his manhood. Looking like he is in a hotel room, the man stands fully naked in a muted video that, depicts him speaking and teasing the recipient. In a standing position, he starts off by caressing his manhood, giving it a close up and ends up lying on the bed, facing up.

At least three young women say they received the video from the prophet and that he usually asks for nudes from them. One of them actually says he has been pestering her, demanding to have sex with her. “He likes to send me messages of how horny he is for me. But again, he likes asking for nudes from women.

Even married women at his church have fallen victims of his sexual harassment. I left the church because he disgusted me by doing such things yet calling himself a man of God,” she says.

The woman however says that Melchizedek, a Zimbabwean who holds services at Gaborone Hotel when he is in the country, is a man of accurate prophecies. “He moves mightily in the prophetic but he likes harassing church sisters. It is known in his church. He is married but controlled by the spirit of lust,” she says.

The Prophet responds
Melchidezek told The Midweek Sun that he was aware of the video of him doing the rounds through WhatsApp, but was quick to label the whole thing a scam.“Yes we are aware. Those are scammers from Benin who hacked into my wife’s Facebook account and phone and stole our videos and pictures. So they wanted to blackmail us and we refused, that is why they are doing that.

It is just an effort to harm the work of God but God is in control,” he told The Midweek Sun. He would not be drawn into responding to, or even discussing the allegations levelled against him by church sisters, but instead gave this reporter a mobile number of a person he said was his wife.

The said woman confirmed that the video was posted by scammers. “That was done by scammers. We have reported them to Benin police,” she said. She however would not give the name of the police station nor go into further details.

This incident follows on last week’s revelations reported by this publication, where several girls spoke anonymously about pastors, prophets and ‘men of God’who were using them sexually in church. Many were uncomfortable to reveal their names, forcing this paper to also conceal the identies of the accused churches and pastors involved in the dirty acts in the name of God.

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