FRANCISTOWN: Parents in Letlhakane in the Boteti Sub-district are worried for the safety of their girls at a local school as they continue to be defiled allegedly by someone who should be taking care of them.
They recently relayed their fears to the police in the village, which led to the arrest and subsequent appearance before the Letlhakane Magistrate Court of Oscar Marumo, 41. This was last year. Marumo’s arrest and subsequent appearance in court shocked the residents of Letlhakane as they did not think that Marumo, who is a boarding school driver at Motsumi Junior Secondary School, could be the one accused of defiling learners where he works instead of protecting them. The Letlhakane police station commander, superintendent Michael Maphephu said Marumo was arraigned in court last year in connection with allegations of defiling three schoolgirls from Motsumi JSS where he was working as a school driver.
“The young girls who Marumo allegedly sexually abused last year between January and June were all aged 14. Marumo allegedly lured the victims by buying them some niceties and then requested them to accompany him to his place where he would later allegedly sexually molest them on different dates,” said Maphephu.
Last year, Maphephu explained that Marumo was granted bail by the Letlhakane Magistrate Court because there was no sufficient evidence
linking him to the crimes because some of the victims later vanished without trace.
Maphephu said in January this year, his office also registered two defilement cases against Marumo. The complainants, Maphephu added, were also schoolgirls from Motsumi JSS.
“In the current charges, Marumo is alleged to have defiled girls aged 16 and 17 but he was not remanded in police custody. We now have sufficient evidence against Marumo since we have managed to trace all the five girls that he allegedly defiled to come and testify against him,” Maphephu said.
“We are going to take the matters before court so that a warrant of arrest against Motsumi can be issued. Sexual offences in my policing areas are giving the police and the public a headache. We have recorded 14 rape cases in January this year. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that some guardians don’t report these kind of offences which is inhibiting us from preventing them.” Asked about Marumo’s alleged brushes with the law, chief education officer for the Boteti-sub region Milidzani Nduna said they have not received reports from the police about him.
She said she only heard a rumour circulating within the community
Nduna stated that her office is constrained to take any action against Marumo, but can only intervene if it receives formal charges from the police on the crime he allegedly committed.
“If the police have a case(s) involving one of our workers, they should formally write to us so that we can take appropriate action. In this case, if indeed the allegations against Marumo are true and known to the police, we could have instituted disciplinary action against him,” she noted matter-of-factly. “Maybe the incidents you are talking about took place in the community, hence we are not aware of them.” Asked why Marumo was transferred to Makgadikgadi JSS, Nduna said he has been waiting to be transferred before she (Nduna) picked rumours from villagers linking Marumo with sexually assaulting someone. “Marumo even appealed that he should not be transferred to Makgadikgadi JSS. He still wants to come and work at Motsumi JSS,” said Nduna.
According to a psychologist, Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker, paedophiles have a pattern of intense, recurring sexual interest in young children and often do not see anything wrong with that interest.
Prominent human rights lawyer, Uyapo Ndadi said that when there is enough evidence about the allegations, disciplinary hearing against the accused should be instituted. “The disciplinary hearing will then determine if the accused is guilty or not. The standard of proof in civil matters is lower than the standard of proof in criminal matters. This means that the accused may be found guilty at a criminal court, but still be not found guilty administratively because the standard of proof is different,” explained the lawyer.
“Any employee that sexually abuses children is an unfit employee and must be dismissed from the service because keeping him or her would pose a threat to the integrity and safety of children whom he or she is expected to protect and nurture,” Ndadi added.
The assistant minister of Basic Education, Thato Kwerepe who is also a former educator, told Mmegi that he was not aware of the issue.“I am not aware of these issues. I will make an effort and enquire about these issues when I get to Gaborone. I am currently at Mabutsane,” Kwerepe, an ex-school head, promised yesterday.