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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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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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