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Crackdown on fraudulent marriages

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When local woman Malebogo Segokgo* met Nigerian hunk Stephen Afamefuna* five years ago, all she felt was love. They looked beautiful together and he had all the right features of her dream man: Tall, dark, handsome and prayerful. Actually, they met at one of the popular charismatic churches in town. Afamefuna did not take long to marry Segokgo. Within seven months, she was already his wife. It was not too long until her husband asked her to help him apply for his residential and business permit, something she did without any hesitation. A nurse by profession, the wife says she also took P300 000 loan from one of the commercial banks for them to start business together. Sadly, their marriage has ended and Segokgo feels her Nigerian ex-husband used her to settle in Botswana. And she learned later that he is actually married back in Nigeria.

The warning signs

Segokgo says the redflags were there from the start but she chose to ignore them. She explains that her uncles and aunts were not pleased when he chose to bring his Nigerian friends and business friends for Patlo instead of his family from Nigeria. “One of my uncles suggested we wait a little bit but I didn’t listen, especially since we had already set our wedding date,” she says. Within two years into their marriage, her ex-husband was already staying with another woman and had rejected her and their newly-born baby. “When I went to inquire at our business office, I learned that he had found another woman,” she says. She is not the only Motswana in this predicament. Another victim says that she was suspicious when after the wedding her husband did not take her to Nigeria as promised. “We had the first leg here in Botswana and we were supposed to go and meet his royal family in Nigeria and discuss the second leg of the wedding which we had agreed to have after five months,” she says, adding that in their two years of marriage, she had never visited her husband’s family. These are just some of the many cases that Detective Senior Assistant Commissioner Nnunu Lesetedi spoke about in an interview with The Midweek Sun. He says that some foreigners have found themselves a good way to enter Botswana and do business, and that is, by marrying gullible Batswana women. He tells The Midweek Sun that Nigerians especially, are using women to operate businesses in the country. What worries him, he says, is that they marry them quickly and dump them within a short period of time. “They come here with the strategy in place because they know marrying our women would make it easier for them to get residence and work permits,” he says. He tells this publication that some Nigerian men married to Batswana women are still married with children back home, which they never disclose to the Batswana women. In one of the incidents, Lesetedi says they found out that two Nigerian men had left their families in Nigeria and married in Botswana again. He says they then left the Batswana women without legally divorcing them and continued running their businesses alone. “We have a case whereby one Motswana woman was neighbours with her Nigerian husband, and didn’t know it since 2003,” he says, adding that the wife was shocked to find out. Another woman from Mochudi was brought before her husband who left her for over five years without a word. “All this is pure marriage of convenience and we won’t tolerate it anymore. Working in the country illegally is also wrong because they don’t pay tax,” he states. Bigamy, the act of marrying more than one woman is an offence under the Laws of Botswana in Section 13 of the Marriage Act. Should a man want another wife, he must first divorce the first one. “No person who has previously contracted a marriage under this part with a person still living may contract a marriage under this part or in accordance with any customary, Muslim, Hindu or other religious rites unless the previous marriage has been dissolved or annulled by a sentence of court,” reads the Act.

The reality about fraudulent marriages Last year, South African government planned to crack down on dubious marriage proposals, warning that couples could face 15 years in prison if they are involved in a fraudulent marriage. According to SA’s Home Affairs ministry, there are rising numbers of South African women who are selling their hands in marriage to foreigners seeking residents’ permits. These men pay the women between R500 and R2 000 a month to be their ‘wife’ for them to get permits. Hundreds of fraudulent marriages take place every year in Canada too. Citizenship and Immigration Canada acknowledges roughly 1,000 such cases are reported annually. In 2009, nearly 45,000 people immigrated to Canada as spouses.

 

*Malebogo Segokgo not her real names, used to protect identity of victim.

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UNLIKELY SIGHT: Former DIS Director Isaac Kgosi was arrested on Tuesday night by DIS agents led by his successor Peter Magosi

The arrest of founding Head of Directorate of Intelligence and Securty Services (DISS), Isaac Kgosi at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (SSKA) Tuesday night adds a new twist in the ominously dangerous local political climate.

Kgosi was arrested in the airport lobby as he pushed his luggage trolley immediately on arrival from South Africa yesterday night by DISS agents led by the new spy boss, Peter Magosi.
He was then handed what appeared to be an arrest warrant, which he read before being handcuffed amidst protestations that the DISS had invited the Press to embarrass him in a public spectacle.
After a brief spell Kgosi succumbed and was whisked away to Mogositshane Police Station where he would be read his charges. He was overheard telling Magosi he was going to “topple this government, I promise you,” a threat which in law constitutes treason.

At the time of writing, Kgosi’s lawyer Unoda Mack and one of Kgosi’s close relatives were said to be at the airport. The arrest happened on the fifth day of President Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi’s private visit to his Mozambican colleague, Filipe Jacinto Nyusi. Masisi is due to arrive home today Wednesday January 16th.

Kgosi’s arrest is bound to exacerbate the rift between President Dr. Masisi and his predecessor, Dr. Ian Khama. Their feud – initially over a perceived refusal of the state to avail Khama air travel for his personal and official chores – broke irretrievably when Masisi fired Isaac Kgosi from the public service.To make matters worse, Masisi also declined Khama’s overtures to hire Kgosi as his Private Secretary. Parallel to this feuding, the state was busy investigating corruption and money laundering charges against Kgosi and his alleged involvement in the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) scandal.

Kgosi was appointed by Khama during the latter’s presidency. He is not only a close personal friend of Khama but also worked with him at the Botswana Defence Force (BDF). A renowned sniper (marksman), Kgosi’s DISS was the embodiment of fear.

The spy agency was described as a law unto itself and despised for eavesdropping on people’s conversations and alleged acts of terror including extra-judicial killings. His arrest and possible prosecution during an election year signals the state’s unflinching commitment to instil the rule of law and restore public confidence in oversight institutions.However, this could provoke a long drawn-out battle between the antagonistic factionsof the ruling Botswana Democratic Party – the pro-Khama New Jerusalem and pro-Masisi Cava – with the sum effect of compromising public service delivery. It is no secret Kgosi is on the side of Khama, and that Khama depends on Kgosi for his exploits.

Yet again, the arrest is the administrtaion’s unambigous message that it has thrown down the gauntlet for the perceived purveyors of corruption to take up. It remains to be seen how Kgosi will react. He allegedly told Magosi Tuesday night, “You are forcing me to do things I never intended to do,” what these things are, is known only to him. However, on the political front there is general foreboding that feeds the lust of doomsday prophets.

The country’s eminent citizens among them the thrid president, Festus Mogae as well as former Vice Presiddent Ponatshego Kedikilwe and property magnate, David Magang have joined the fray on the side of President Masisi in the protracted Khama/Masisi impasse. And just like at the height of the legal brawl between the State and former Debswana boss, Louis Nchindo – Mogae will not harbour any secrets – not least concerning Khama’s ill-fated succession plan and Masisi’s role in it.

Suddenly, the internal power struggle in the BDP has become a national security threat and a cancer that threatens to eat away the gains made in the country’s 53 year history as a democracy.
Conversely, it has emboldened others and awakened the allure of contestation in former minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi to challenge Masisi for the party’s presidency at this year’s July national congress, which thing, some watchers dismiss as “absurd” while other pundits, such as foreign minister Unity Dow, see Mma Venson as a decoy or proxy for Khama’s grand comeback to the presidency.

Khama has however denied attempts at pulling a ‘Putin”- that is, returning to the presidency after his constitutional term has expired.
Just as the Sybilline Oracle warned the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar about the Ides of March, the BDP was forewarned by a Zambian ‘seer’or prophet; long ago about its eventual collapse, which is eerily becoming imminent with the passage of time.

Some may say, the Botswana Democratic Party made its bed when it recruited Khama into politics from the military and must now lie on it. But the reality is that the Khama/Masisi feud risks tearing the county asunder. A Tswana dictum counsels that there can be no two bulls in a kraal at the same time, and in like manner, there can be no two presidents in a republic or two centres of power. This is the warning that all the eminent BDP leaders have sounded to the nation and the party.

President Dr. Masisi stirred the hornet’s nest and rattled the interest of white monopoly capital last year when at the height of the elephant poaching scandal, that made international headlines, he disamrmed the Wildlife Protection Unit.

He also had the audacity to set up a plebiscite to gauge the people’s views regarding the ban on wildlife hunting, which had been a permanent feature of the past adminstration. The disarming of the Unit particularly carried a sting with Khama, himself an avowed conservationist and distinguished fellow of Conservation International. And all these actions that seem to go against the wishes of Khama and his loyalists, threaten to plunge the country into a state of disrepair, for they will not take the latest arrest lying down. Khama will surely react, and the nation should be on the alert.

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Woman raped by another woman in BMW

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A woman can rape another woman in Botswana. This was recently brought to light by one of the victims as the debate about the escalating and shocking rape cases that continue to grip the nation.

Most often attention is always on incidents where men rape men or men rape women, but while it is something that is happening, a woman raping a woman is somewhat seen as taboo. Model and businesswoman Julie Juice Tsile recently found the courage to talk about her harrowing experience at the hands of a trusted member of society, who also happens to be married. In a post shared on January 9th on Facebook, Tsile narrated how the perpetrator is a married woman, someone’s mother, and a mutual friend to some. It all started when the woman whom she refers to as Goaba asked her to accompany her to collect something from the car.

The two were attending an event with friends. “I had just met her through a friend. So, if a married woman asks you to go to the car with her, you can never think of anything right, you somehow feel safe right,” she says in the post.

Things took a different turn when they arrived at the car.
Goaba asked her to get inside the car, which she did unaware that her companion had an ulterior motive. She admits that on the day, she had been drinking but was not drunk, and that the car was parked in the car park area. After all, she could see the security people not far from where they were.

Tsile also notes that in her head, she was thinking that the woman was asking her to get inside the car just to be safe. “So, I closed the door and sat on the passenger seat,” says Tsile.And that is when everything changed. Goaba kissed her on the lips, and she didn’t resist. “So, I just brushed it off thinking gore (sic) ah it’s just a kiss, women can be curious,” states Tsile. After this Tsile told Goaba that she has to go look for her friends because she had left without telling them where she was going. But this was only the beginning of her horror. Her perpetrator grabbed her hand and pulled her panty down. Tsile was wearing a short dress and Goaba started poking her genitals with her long nails.

All this time, Goaba did not say anything but she had an evil look on her face while doing it. “I was shocked, I honestly didn’t move, I froze because my mind could not digest what was happening. I then managed to push her away, opened the car and I just stood there in shock,” she explains. A security guy who was near them came towards her and asked her if they were fighting. At that point
Tsile started crying and sharing how she was raped by the woman in the white BMW.

“He was shocked, he then approached the car but the woman fled.So he called another security car to ask him to block the lady at the gate, so they started asking me to repeat the story. The other guy started laughing, until he saw blood running between my legs,” she says.Tsile has not forgotten what the woman who drives a white BMW, and is married to a white man known only as Paul did to her. “You took a piece of me from that day on,” she says.

She says she did not report at the time because she was scared and was just starting out with her business. She also wondered how her family and friends were going to react to the incident. “Lastly repeating the story, being laughed at, being asked to explain how a woman can rape you, all those things I couldn’t deal with or that I asked for it. So, beware of this woman, she is your friend, your sister probably your mother but she took away a piece of me and I hope she doesn’t do the same to any other woman out there,” she concludes her story.

The post attracted a lot of attention, and another victim came forward to share how a neighbour also did the same thing to her. Tsile told this newspaper that the matter has been reported to Central Police Station, and that she did not want to jeopardise the case. However, Head of Central Police Station (CPS) Superintendent Mothusi Phadi informed this publication that they have not received any report of this nature.

But he said that their doors were open to Tsile, and that she was welcome to come and report the matter. He assured the complainant that they would talk to her in private, and that they would treat the matter with the utmost confidentiality. “She is welcome to come and see me anytime,” he said.

Human Rights Lawyer, Uyapo Ndadi told this publication that he has heard stories of women raping other women although they have never been tested before the courts of law. He said the law in Botswana provides for rape between people of the same sex.

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