TRADITIONAL JUSTICE STINGS WOMAN
The alleged offence; disrespecting her aunt. Her punishment, five lashes of the whip on her bare buttocks.
Still raw from the taste of traditional justice, Omatla Makuku, 24,this week narrated the harrowing experience of being beaten at the Maun Customary Court.
Humiliated by those who forced her to strip in front of four male cops and four female ones, the mother of two did not hesitate to lift her skirt to reveal several deep cuts to this reporter.
Makuku’s ordeal started with the eruption of an argument between her elder sister, Kelly Makuku,31 and her aunt Dithata Makuku, 49 at their home in Riverside ward in Maun.
“As the argument got heated I heard my aunt mention my late mother’s name so I interjected and asked her to let my mother rest in peace.
Instead she said we are going to die poor like our mother.”
Police were called and the matter was resolved but to her shock and horror on Monday special constables stormed into her house brandishing a customary court order for her to appear at the kgotla.
A quick hearing at the Maun customary court in which the ward headman Kgosi meno kept calling her ‘child and minutes later Omaatla was stripped down for the whipping by a male officer.
All I can remember after that is waking up from the floor with my white skirt soaked in blood because I was so terrified that I blacked out immediately.” She said sobbing.
Asked to comment on the events Omaatla’s aunt’s curt reply was. “I don’t want my name to be tarnished in newspapers, go and ask the Chief.”
District N05 Officer Commanding Senior Superintendent Chabaesele Kesupetswe said that it is unlawful to lash someone without proper court proceedings and it was also unlawful to lash a woman.
“This is a very sad and unfortunate case because it is clearly written in our laws that a woman cannot be sentenced to corporal punishment,” h said the police boss.
Meanwhile Kgosi Meno who ordered the whipping said he was not aware that it was unlawful to whip women.
He also expressed regret at not taking time to hear both sides of the story before passing his ruling.
“Next time I will simply refuse I to oblige those who ask me to administer corporal punishment on their children because it has turned out that this woman lied that Omaatla was her child anyhow.”
Section 28, sub section 3 of the penal code of laws of Botswana: No corporal punishment shall be passed upon any of the following person(s)
- Male sentenced to death
- Male whom the court consider to be more than 40 years.