The Botswana Centre for Human Rights wishes to express serious concerns to the Government of Botswana and the public, about the recent incident of mob-justice in Mogoditshane earlier this month (January 2020), which resulted in the death of an alleged recidivist criminal suspect.
DITSHWANELO believes in justice and the rule of law, to which all in Botswana are subject and should uphold at all times. We urge everyone to respect the rights of others including of suspects of crime. All who are suspected of contravening the law should be brought before the courts to answer for their suspected misdeeds.
We remain opposed to crime in all its forms and are steadfast in the belief in the responsibility to protect the right to life. We reiterate that the loss of life is always deeply regrettable. We remain committed to advocating for effective and sustainable responses to crime. The responses should include both punishment of the offender and the healing of the survivors of crime as well as of the public.
DITSHWANELO strongly encourages our Government to take the lead in condemning such use of force, which leads to the loss of life and instead strive to protect life, including that of the alleged offender. Our Government should, in addressing the greater challenge of the deterioration of the value of our Botswana society, look to alternatives to addressing the cause of increasing anti-social
DITSHWANEO wishes to also express its very deep concern about the alleged statement made by Minister of Sports, Youth and Culture Development, Hon. Rakgare about mob-justice, as reported in The Midweek Sun (15 January 2020). His statement encouraging the public to ‘take measures to protect themselves against criminals’ risks being interpreted as condoning mob-justice. We however, trust that this is not the Minister’s intention.
The Government should further engage with the public on issues affecting it, to better understand situations in relation to how best they could be resolved, before tempers explode and yield what happened. The concerns of the public should be for constructive redress.
We urge the public to reflect on one of Botswana’s founding principles of BOTHO, which continues to be the strength which allows Botswana to thrive as we find ways to deal with trials and tribulations. All life should be valued. Those who take life and those who commit crimes should face the legal consequences in a society which values the rule of law and not mob-justice.
20 January 2020