After living in fear for ages now, Mogoditshane residents are sleeping with both eyes closed as Botswana Defence Force (BDF) personnel has joined Botswana Police officers in security patrols in the area.
The patrols are an answer to outcries by the residents after criminals turned the peri-urban village into gangsters’ paradise.
Recently a passenger was stabbed to death after a gang invaded commuters in a combi and stealing their valuables in the process. Day and night people were attacked, robbed, raped and assaulted whilst walking in the streets of Mogoditshane.
Residents were living in fear, as there was no day that went by without residents being caught up in violence. Mogoditshane Police Station was a beehive activity for rape, murder, armed robbery and burglary reports.
Drained by the spate of crimes in their village, residents earlier this year held a protest match against crime.
For the majority of people who relocate from far-flung villages for greener pastures in Gaborone, their first stop in ‘Sghadisho’ as Mogoditshane is known for cheaper or affordable accommodation. The village has turned into a crime heaven with criminals making a kill almost daily.
Residents of Mogoditshane did not know what peaceful sleep means as in their slumber their conscience is always on the alert to any sound from outside the house.
Even those who assumed they were safe since they are always behind the wheel were attacked in their cars, an experience that was even becoming a new normal.
However, in response to the crisis the army has been brought on board to collaborate with the police in patrols to deal with the rising crime rate. Former Member of Parliament for the area, Sedirwa Kgoroba who has been spearheading the protest against crime, welcomed the initiative.
“This is what I have been advocating for, residents of Mogoditshane are living in fear in their homes. People are being attacked day and night, losing their valuables and at times their precious lives at the hands of criminals,”
“We appreciate the initiative as residents of Mogoditshane even though their visibility is at 30% because soldiers have been stationed in Gaborone and surrounding areas.”
Kgoroba said given the village’s escalating crime rate they need fulltime soldiers’ patrols and not the current arrangement in which the army comes in once or twice or thrice a week.
However the officer commanding for the area, senior superintendent Agreement Mapeu said their collaboration with members of the BDF is already bearing fruits as crime incidents have been reduced.
Mapeu said since crime incidents are high in Gaborone and surrounding areas soldiers have been positioned amongst the crime prone areas.
“For almost a month we have been doing day and night patrols with soldiers in crime hot spot areas like Mogoditshane, Old Naledi, Airport Junction mall, Gaborone North, West, Block 6, 8 and 10, Phase 2, 4 and surrounding areas like Mmopane, Gabane, Metsimotlhabe and Kopong,” he revealed.
Mapeu said the initiative came at the right time as crime incidents like smash and grab, and home invasion were getting out of control and overpowering police patrols. He said they are pro-active in responding to crime through patrols as they carry them at night, some days during the day or early in the morning so that criminals cannot notice police movements.
“Members of the community have welcomed the initiative. They have been calling us giving us a positive feedback. We also appreciate our collaboration with soldiers because it has already proven to be effective,” he said.
However, he pleaded with members of the public to be cooperative with them especially when doing stop and search. He also called on members of the public to avoid carrying sharp objects especially at night to avoid getting into conflict with the police.