President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has called on all to join forces in fighting against gender-based violence (GBV) and to put the blame on perpetrators alone.
“Blaming any other person other than the perpetrators will divide us and give victory to evil,” said President Masisi.
He was speaking in an interview recently after attending a memorial service for diehard Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) activist, Ms Gape Tanjo allegedly killed by her boyfriend on September 26.
The boyfriend later committed suicide by hanging himself.
Dr Masisi encouraged Botswana Police as well as the nation at large to continue their efforts to curb GBV.
“I also call upon the leadership across the political divide to join hands in bringing a stop to gender-based violence. I urge traditional and church leaders to play their pivotal role and assist the government in the fight against the scourge because the issue is a national tragedy that needs to be dealt with by a united front,” he said.
He said Ms Tanjo’s death pained him because she was not the latest victim but among the many latest victims despite government pleas and efforts against the scourge.
“This evil is still continuing. I once again reiterate the call I made two weeks ago when I addressed the nation on gender-based violence. I call upon men to go back to the crossroads and assume the posture that a Motswana man assumed from time immemorial,” he said.
A Motswana man, he said, was known for chivalry, a provider and protector.
President Masisi said a Motswana man did not prove his physical strength by abusing women and called on men to stop such barbarism and evil.
He warned that Vision 2036 goals would not be achieved if cases of domestic violence and GBV continued to rise.
Dr Masisi assured the nation that the already published Sex Offenders Bill, which could not be submitted to the winter sitting of Parliament due to its heavy schedule, would be tabled in November.
“As I said, the bill proposes stiffer penalties for sex offenders and those who cause harm on women as well as the establishment of a sex offenders register,” he added.
BDP secretary general, Mr Mpho Balopi described Ms Tanjo as a true democrat who loved her party to the fullest.
“I was saddened by the passing away of Ms Tanjo whom I loved, trusted and believed in. She was my niece, sister, child and everything I could think of,” said Mr Balopi.
He told mourners among them, ministers Kabo Morwaeng of presidential affairs, Dr Douglas Letsholathebe of tertiary education, Billy Buti of sports and culture, former cabinet ministers and senior party officials that Ms Tanjo’s demise was not only a loss to democrats but also to the nation.
Mr Balopi said Ms Tanjo was faithful to the BDP because when other members defected to the opposition, she not only stayed but continued to recruit for the party.
He described GBV as an evil spirit which should not be tolerated.
Brother to the deceased, Mr Edward Tanjo pleaded with government to toughen penalties perpetrators of GBV because cases were increasing at an alarming rate in Botswana.
BDP’s Women’s Wing chairperson, Ms Thandy Maruapula, Francistown youth wing chairperson, Mr Nonofo Mantli and Ipopeng Ward councillor Ms Jenamiso Mojaki described Ms Tanjo as a heroine and an active member of the party who served it selflessly.
“Moswela-tumelo, as she was affectionately called, loved the party and dedicated her life to its service and was a force to reckon with in the constituency,” said Councillor Mojaki.
Apart from politics, the deceased was a member of the sports volunteer’s movement.
She fully participated in all Botswana National Sports Commission games and epitomized the spirit of volunteerism.