- His wife was allegedly maltreated by G/West police
- She was allegedly detained with 15 others without regard for mutual infection with COVID-19
- She allegedly had an anxiety attack and collapsed
- Was allegedly denied medical attention
- Was detained with 15 others in a small room
A man is considering mounting an anti-police brutality campaign after his wife allegedly collapsed in the course of being maltreated at Gaborone West Police Station where she was detained for allegedly violating the 8pm COVID curfew in the evening of March 24 in Gaborone.
In an Interview with The Botswana Gazette this week, Moanamisi Gadiile narrated how his wife, who is prone to epileptic fits, was allegedly put in a small room with 15 other detainees without regard for their potential exposure to the highly infectious and contagious COVID-19 virus.
“They were not charged during the time they were detained except being told that they were arrested for breaking curfew times and being verbally accused of spreading COVID-19 for which they would be detained overnight,” Gadiile said. “My wife asked what charges she faced and for a charge sheet but was ignored.”
“She asked for something warm and was denied. She later collapsed for about 20 minutes and was manhandled by one male officer and two female officers when she said she needed medical attention. She sustained injuries in the process. We have since taken the matter up with the Station Commander.”
But the Station Commander, Superintendent Oniuos Maziba, says he is not aware of the specific case of Gadiile’s wife because “I was not on duty at the time” and has denied that his officers do not observe COVID-19 protocols. “Operations are ongoing to ensure that COVID-19 protocols are observed,” Maziba said in an interview.
“We ensure that offenders have their masks on when we detain them and there is social distancing in our cells. Their temperature checked and they are tested, especially our cross-border offenders. We have so many cases of people not observing COVID-19 protocols and I was not on duty at the time of the incident. My leave started on the 24th of March and I resumed work yesterday (29 March 2021).”
Meanwhile, observers say growing incidents of police maltreatment of people for allegedly violating COVID-19 protocols underscore a need to establish an independent police complaints commission in Botswana.