By Basadi Morokotso
Maun: Anti gender based violence activists who gathered here recently have called for an urgent introduction of specialised family mobile courts to address many cases of gender based violence which are prevalent in the Ngamiland region.
Their main worry was that over the years, the girl child and women in general have been failed by the justice system citing many cases which were previously reported but have been dragging in courts for reasons that they are never made aware of.
They pointed out that while traffic mobile courts are equally important, their introduction should have been halted a little and preference given to mobile family courts looking at the fact that most families are still victims of violence some of which are not reported to relevant authorities because of lack of trust on the part of the judiciary.
A Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) official, Universe Kabecha, noted that plans underway to have specialized courts after government realized that under the current system, reported case drag for a long time.
He said such cases if not taken seriously can result in victims withdrawing cases; something which he said is highly discouraged by the DPP. However he said they always make it appoint that they give due diligence to GBV cases to ensure that victims are assisted on time.
For her part, Maun based Women Against Rape (WAR) coordinator Peggy Ramaphane requested for more funding from donors from all spheres so that they may be able to carry out their mandate diligently.
She said communities in remote areas like in the Okavango sub region need their services the most but are denied such an opportunity because of lack of funds. She said “People there feel isolated and unwanted. We hear of their issues but we sometimes find ourselves not able to reach out to them because of limited resources and funding.”
Ramaphanyane added that “It is worth noting that GBV is a driver for HIV, so communities there run a risk of contracting HIV.Our wish is for government to set aside a fund for the control of HIV and violence.”
Speaking at the meeting, Kgosi Oleyo Ledimo pointed out that although advocacy groups such as the Maun based Women Against Rape(WAR) are doing a commendable job of reaching out to GBV victims,their link with the police is a disappointment.
“Often times we see the emergence of cases, but we never get to know how such cases were handled as there is never any feedback from yourselves. We are stakeholders, and so we need to be given feedback of how cases are concluded as well as to be informed of whatever action is taken. We are talking here of real issues which affect real people, so please make it a point that you furnish us with necessary information and on time”, he said.
Giving a word of advice, Officer in charge at Boro Prison Senior Superintendent Gabriel Magole said parents should make it a point that they get as close as possible with their children so that they may be able to address or maybe attend to their concerns on time. He said parenting skills in some households are very questionable and have immensely contributed to children losing their morals and thereby driving them in to serious derailment. He adviced WAR officials to avail themselves so that their works may be known even outside Ngamiland.Currently,he said 60% of people languishing in prisons are sex offenders, which as a result shows there is still a long way to go.