- The girl’s mother badly affected by news of her pregnancy and victimization
- Was briefly hospitalized due to stress and shock
- Defilement case opened against prominent 39 year old man – Tutume Police
- Family will not rest until justice is served
- BONELA vows to help family
FRANCISTOWN: The woman who has been fielding media questions about the controversy involving the Sebina girl at the centre of a Facebook leak implicating Sebina Councilor Kemmonye Amon and area MP Fidelis Molao in a sex scandal – is not the actual “Mother of the child” as she has been referred to since the story came to light.
Investigations by The Botswana Gazette have revealed that the woman, Shathani Onneng or “Mma Phizha” as she is also called, is the girl’s aunt and has been speaking on behalf of the family and the actual mother of the child (*name withheld), her younger sister, since she took ill and was placed under medical care- after learning the news of her daughter’s pregnancy.
It was Mma Phizha who was interviewed by and confirmed to Gabz FM that Councillor Amon had admitted to impregnating her 16 year old niece at the centre of a social media storm which saw the Shashe West Member of Parliament and the Councilor distancing themselves from the leak and knowledge of the girl’s pregnancy.
In an interview with this publication, sources said the mother of the pregnant Form 4 girl took ill “the moment Nata Senior Secondary School called the family alerting them of the situation, Mma Phizha took charge and went to collect the child on her behalf”.
The 40 year old woman was admitted in a Francistown clinic following what is suspected to be the shock and stress that over whelmed her since the news broke; Since then she has been keeping a low profile and allowing her older sister, Mma Phizha to handle the matter with the help of the elderly members of the family.
The Botswana Gazette understands that after she told the family and the police that she was raped by a man driving a BX (government vehicle), the girl recanted her story only to reveal that she was “impregnated by the area councilor, who was then called in and admitted to impregnating her. The councillor did not deny what the child told the police,” a source affirmed.
According to a version The Botswana Gazette has learnt the girl told family members, she met Amon after she was sent to buy groceries at Botshelo Supermaket, a famous Sebina landmark owned by the Amon family. The girl’s family compound is just behind the Supermarket.
The family’s position
Sources close to the development say that the family have met several times to discuss how the matter should be handle. “The matter is before the police and the family feels they should be allowed time and space to carry out their investigations and to take the issue from there,” a source revealed.
This is because the family feels the issue is sensitive and must be treated with utmost respect, contrary to the approach taken by politicians who the family feel are out to “Score political points with their situation”, it is said.
“The child’s future has been affected and that is why the family dismisses all allegations that they could be bribed: money does not last forever and a dark cloud will always hang over the child. Contrary to speculations, the family wants justice for the child and will stop at nothing from being pursuing it,” revealed a source adamantly.
Police confirm investigating defilement
Tutume Station Commander, Superintendent Jerry Halahala has confirmed that they are investigating a case of defilement which was reported in Sebina, involving a prominent person aged 39 years. Halahala indicated that the issue was a sensitive one and of “public interest”, but guaranteed that “the law will take its course”.
He says that the matter was reported by the family of the child involved and “investigations are ongoing and we will be calling the parents anytime soon to update them on our findings and we can take it from there,” he said.
Halahala explained that, according to the law, if a person is found guilty of defilement, the minimum charge is a minimum of 10years imprisonment and if it is established that the victim has contracted any disease, “the charge can go up to 25years imprisonment,” he said.
He however rubbished claims that the police could be bribed to drag the case or “bury it” following undue influence.
Councilor Amon denies defilement
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Councilor for Sebina, Kemmonye Amon has denied claims that he is facing defilement charges for impregnating a girl from the village who is a Form 4 Student at Nata Senior Secondary.
Speaking to The Botswana Gazette, Amon said “There is no such thing as defilement and people should rest assured that the matter is with police and they are doing their investigations. The law will take its course after all the facts have been considered.”
He refused to either deny or confirm to ever having a sexual a relationship with the 16 year old school girl in question, saying he had nothing to say since “the matter is already with the police and I am allowing them to do their job diligently without any interference.”
He also rubbished allegations claiming that he was a sexual predator who has a predilection for young girls, “I’m aware of how the social media is awash with all this, and I’m fine with it, the law will take its course after all has been said and done,” he said adamantly.
BONELA enters the fray
The Botswana Network on the Ethics Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) Director Cindy Kelemi says they will contact the family to offer them support, “We expect political leaders to be the ones to be spearheading the fulfillment of the children’s act, and councilors are expected to do that at a local level not to be the ones contravening the act if indeed this is true,” she said.
Kelemi said that children were guaranteed protection by the Children’s Act which she said takes supremacy in guaranteeing the rights and protection of minors below the age of 16. “We will continue to do our work, of raising public awareness, and specifically educate the mothers on such cases; that they should protect the rights of their children at all costs. Secondly, we will offer free legal service in cases involving public figures usually drag and end up vanishing into thin air without the culprits being brought to justice,” she revealed. Kelemi vowed that they would pursue the matter until the culprit in the case is brought to book.
Situation in Sebina
Sebina, a small village which until now was little known about, finds itself in the middle of a media and social media storm which has enumerable consequences for different people and different aspects of life in Botswana.
People who are most affected by this controversy, are the 16 year old girl, who is a potential victim of sexual abuse, and her family that has to bare the shame and tragedy of mending a broken child and her compromised future. The Botswana Gazette understand that the family do not know who first leaked the story on Facebook, but speaking to sources who are well informed about the controversy, the publication observed the permeating fear of people who did not want to suffer consequences of being caught speaking to the media. While the issue is the talk of the village, people fear a certain invisible hand which they say is powerful and has far reaching influence.“This is not the first time the councilor is implicated in such an issue, he once did this to his niece last year and we hear the pregnancy was aborted. This time around is a school girl in the village,” said an animated source.
Where is the girl?
Information relayed to The Botswana Gazette by a relative of the family, indicate that the 16 year old girl, the potential victim in this controversy is currently out of school and stays at the lands or Masimo, “far away from Sebina”. The child was moved from the village to save her from prying eyes and the unsettling buzz in the village which the family feels could have overwhelmed her.