Residents get suspended sentences for refusing polio immunisation
18 June, 2004
Source: Republic of Botswana
FRANCISTOWN - Six residents of Semotswana, near Tonota on Monday received varying suspended sentences each for refusing their children to be immunised against polio.
The Tonota customary court ruled that the sentences would become effective if the six convicts, commonly known as Bazezuru, continue to be intransigent.
The court ordered that the children of those convicts were to be immunised that day.
Eric Kadiamoto, 50, and Media Ruka, 40, were each sentenced to three months imprisonment but their sentences were suspended for three years provided they did not commit a similar offence. The others: Sydney Fenai, 56, Norah Fenai, 37, Stephen Gideon, 51 and Marwa Phiri, 24 were each sentenced to two months imprisonment each suspended for one year.
Their children were given the polio dose immediately after the ruling as ordered by the court. The accused persons told court that it was against their religion to take either medical or traditional medicine.
Passing sentence Senior Tribal Authority Ramosinyi Radipotsane told the accused that the government want to protect the lives of the children and as such all Batswana and visitors have to abide by the laws of Botswana.
The second round exercise of the polio immunisation ends on June 18. BOPA