Francistown‘s Deputy Mayor, Rebecca Nshakazogwe, has dismissed government’s clean up campaigns as a useless tool in the fight against the influx of illegal immigrants. She said though cleanups demand a lot of financial and human resources, they have, thus far, proved a failure as illegal immigrants always find their way back into Botswana immediately after their repatriation.
Nshakazogwe said that illegal immigrants, especially from Zimbabwe, are so arrogant and brave as to make cat calls to Batswana that “we will be back in the evening” when carried in the government armored trucks.
Nshakazogwe‘s statements come after recent reports that a lot of Francistowners were displaying xenophobic tendencies, even going to the point of administering mob justice on Zimbabwean nationals.
Two months ago a 35-year-old Zimbabwean man died in hospital after he was brutally beaten up by a mob that accused him of stealing from Score Supermarket.
”There is never a day that passes without somebody being robbed of his cell phones and money in the bus rank” said one Malebogo Modise, a woman who sells foodstuffs at the bus rank. She added that people prefer to inflict their own kind of justice because they feel the police are not doing enough to deter crime as the culprits are usually let off with only a few lashes on the buttocks.
“These are seasoned criminals who will not be deterred by a few lashes,” said a fuming Modise, who also revealed that her kiosk has been broken into several times.
Responding to these sentiments, Nsahagazogwe said that some locals are also responsible as they harbor illegal immigrants. She encouraged locals to follow the right channels of recruitment if they want to hire foreigners as farm hands and maids.
Joseph Mafela, a Francisitown man who was recently hospitalized with multiple stitches on his head, after he was attacked and robbed of his cell phone, clothes and money, said that he will react with violence at the slightest sign of intimidation from a Zimbabwean.
Nshakazogwe said that it is upon the regional leaders to find a lasting solution to the influx of Zimbabweans into Botswana. “Until then we will stick to clean up campaigns” she said.