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Death penalty: Botswana murder cases continue to escalate

Statistics collected recently indicate that murder cases in Botswana – one of the few countries still practicing death penalty – are on the increase. Capital punishment is seen as barbaric and outdated by some countries but Botswana has reiterated her position on it over time.

She (Botswana) is the only country in Southern African Development Community (SADC) that still upholds and practices the death penalty as other member states have either abolished the exercise in law or in practice. Official Statistics from Botswana Police Service passed to Weekend Post this week, suggest that 17 murder cases have been reported within a short 16 day period, over the past festive season from 20/12/2019 – 05/01/2020.The numbers for the whole of 2019 were not immediately available as the Police stated that were still being compiled at the time of press.


However, according to the Botswana Police Service Annual Report for the year 2016, a total number of 278 murder cases were recorded in 2015. In 2016 the number escalated to a whopping 305 murder cases registered. Botswana Police Public Relations officer Senior Superintendent Dipheko Motube also told Weekend Post this week that in 2017 the murder cases recorded reached a monstrous 315 from the 305 in 2016.  

In 2018, Motube observed that the number further escalated to 316, reaching an all-time high – while death penalty is still on practice. Jayson Chabota, Botswana Police Assistant Public Relations Officer (PRO), had revealed to this publication in an interview last year that “most murder cases recorded were as a result of killings related to love affairs and misunderstandings that erupted at drinking places.”

The death penalty is provided for in the Botswana Penal Code (which enforces capital punishment) section 202: “any person who of malice aforethought causes the death of another person by an unlawful copyright Government of Botswana act or omission is guilty of murder.”
It is also encapsulated in the country’s ultimate law being the constitution section 4(1) that: “No person shall be deprived of his life intentionally, save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of an offence under the law in force in Botswana of which he has been convicted.”

While countries across the globe continue to dispose of the practice, Botswana still continues to enforce on it having executed approximately more than 55 people since independence in 1966, most of which were said to be men. Put mildly, Botswana carries out roughly 1 or sometimes 2 executions per year. Meanwhile, Botswana has maintained her position on death penalty over the years with recent pronouncement still on that angle.

“Botswana’s view on “the question of death penalty” remains unchanged, and the death penalty remains a competent sentence under the laws of Botswana,” the then Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs Edwin Batshu told the 29th session of the third cycle review report of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) last year at Geneva, Switzerland. He continued to highlight that, in that regard, “government holds the view that the death penalty is not a human rights violation, or a form of torture, but rather a matter of criminal justice.”

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Gov’t shy to shame failing ministers

22nd February 2021
Morwaeng

Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.

Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.

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Bokamoso, Gov’t in P10M womb removal suit

22nd February 2021
Bokamoso

Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.

The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.

According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.

Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead.
According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.

“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.

The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.

What are fibroids?

Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.

The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.

Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.

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Masisi warned against a sinking Botswana

22nd February 2021
Ndaba GAolatlhe

The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.

Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty.  “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.

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