Botswana Police this Friday admitted to the Urban Customary Deputy Court President, Kgosi Kgosimotse Sebele, that they are having a difficult time arresting dagga smokers and traffickers around Gaborone because of the increasing number of people being charged with possession of the habit forming plant.
Police admitted that they are losing the battle against dagga abuse and told the court that, often after arresting someone, the offender always tells the police that they have bought dagga from unknown people. This, said the police, makes it difficult to apprehend those who are trafficking.
This Friday, a 24-year-old dagga smoker was arraigned before Kgosi Dikwalo Monametsi. The smoker pleaded guilty to the charge of being found in possession of 16 grams of dagga and was sentenced to four strokes on the bum.
Constable Six Happy, the presiding officer from the Urban Police Station, told the court that the accused was arrested in Ext 14, next to an electricity pole, on the 12/04/2006. He told the court that he was with three other men but when asked by the police what was inside a clear plastic pouch next to him the accused told them that it was dagga. The accused is said to have declared that the dagga was for him and asked the police to free his friends because they did not know anything about the dagga.
Constable Six told the court that the accused then told them that he had bought dagga from a stranger in Gaborone.
In another case, a 25-year-old suspect, Leonard Hute from Zimbabwe, was also arraigned before Sebele after the Urban Police arrested him and charged him with unlawful possession of dagga at Bontleng in Gaborone.
State Prosecutor from Urban Police Station, Constable Meshack Bakae, told the court that at the time the accused was arrested they thought he did not have a resident or work permit and also suspected him of having stolen clothes in White City.
He told the court that they took him to the police station where he was body searched before being locked up in a police cell. Constable Bakae told the court that the accused was found with 300 grams of dagga wrapped in a paper inside his pocket.
Leonard, who is a mechanic, asked the court not to send him to prison because he would lose his job as a mechanic and because he is taking care of his kid back home.
Reading out his previous convictions, Bakae told the court that the accused was, on the 14th/05/2005 at the Gaborone Magistrate Court, arrested and charged with uttering false document. For that he was fined P950 or six months in jail. Sebele sentenced him to five strokes on the bum and advised him to stop smoking dagga.