Serowe-based Magistrate, Monashe Ndlovu, on Friday convicted five members of the Botswana Defence Force, along with some Special Constables, for having indecently assaulted some Zimbabwean males and women whom they forced to have sex with each other without their consent in Ramotswa on the 25 of November 2005.
The five accused persons, who have since been remanded in police custody pending sentence, are Samuel Seshabo, Moagi Sampson, Koziba Balopi, Phetogo Gabanakobo and Thato Bogosi.
Pako Tlahabaki and Sydney Ntope Ndlovu were acquitted.
When passing sentence, the magistrate, who also happens to be a Zimbabwean citizen, said that he had no doubt about their guilt.
The state, he said, had done a good job in proving its case against the accused persons.
He said that the complainants’ evidence was consistent and that where there were some inconsistencies they were minor.
The consistency of the witnesses, he said, was shown by the fact that they had been able to pick out the perpetrators in a parade hours after the incident.
Ndlovu also said that he doubts that the complaints were wrongfully implicating the accused persons, saying that they had no reason for doing such a thing. Besides that, he said, even the accused persons’ lawyers have failed to say why the complainants would have wanted to wrongfully implicate the accused persons.
The magistrate said that of all the accused persons, Ndlovu said that Phetogo Gabanakobo and Thato Bogosi appeared to have played the major role in the crime, like giving instructions on what should be done during the committing of the crime.
On the other hand, he said that Tlhabaki and Ntope, whom he acquitted, did not play any role in the acts.
Some of the things the accused persons are said to have done to the complainants are forcing the Zimbabwean women to undress then have sex with their countrymen. They are also reported to have forced other males to masturbate and that they were watching while all the acts were being performed. Those who refused to follow instructions were reportedly sjamboked.
In the worst act, it is reported that one lady whom they had wanted to have sex with a male had complained to them that she was menstruating but that they still forced her to have sex.
The convicts’ offence carries a sentence of ten years.
Kaone Dimeku prosecuted whilst Tshiamo Rantao and Busang Manewe were defending.
Rantao and Manewe have indicated that they might apply for bail pending appeal when the case next sits on the 21 of November.
After their conviction, there was a little drama when one of the accused tried to refuse having leg-irons placed on him insisting that he was not a criminal.