An attempt by The Botswana Gazette to get an update on the Sebina defilement case has attracted the scorn of the Botswana Police Service (BPS) Public Relations Unit- which used the occasion to suggest that there was a media conspiracy to focus on “one case”.
The matter implicates Sebina Village councillor, Kemmonye Amon, who came under public scrutiny last May after he admitted to having sex with a 16-year-old school-going girl who later fell pregnant.
Instead of providing an update as per the norm, Police Spokesperson Superintendent Witness Boseja said there were “other” important cases the media should focus on besides the Sebina matter. “It seems like you are only after this issue, and it leaves people wondering if there is no other undisclosed motive behind your keen interest in the Sebina defilement case,” he said.
It is not clear why Boseja took this attitude but The Botswana Gazette is one of the publications that covered the matter extensively and has as of January 2017, been trying to track how the investigations were going and whether the matter was any closer to concluding and to establish the status of the victim in the matter.
Boseja however insisted on speaking to a media conspiracy he sees on the matter instead of providing answers. “Why does it appear like you are more interested in only one issue while there are many other issues that are of more importance but you don’t report on them,” he said, citing the example of a case in Francistown where he says “A woman hacked her child to death.”
It is unusual for the police PR Unit to offer philosophical responses to media questions as they instead tend to provide information if it is available or simply state that investigations are ongoing. In fact, Boseja’s colleague Dipheko Motube had promised to provide answers on this matter but could not immediately do so as he said he was on leave, hence referring this publication to Boseja.
It is not clear how Boseja decided to overrule Motube, forming an adversarial view which makes it difficult for this publication to get information on a matter of public interest.
The Sebina defilement case was described as a “turning point” by former Customary Court President Margret Mosojane when addressing a workshop organized by PEPFAR Global Health Seminar for the media and other stakeholders last December in Francistown.
The workshop was intended to influence key policy makers at the district level to increase commitment in their response to sexual health issues including HIV/AIDS and to enable journalists who cover the field to better inform their audiences on locally relevant issues and other sexual health concerns.