Mogoditshane Police Station Commander Zacharia Tshenyego confirmed that the late Thabo Olatlheng who was killed in a controversial mob justice incident this week was a seasoned criminal.
Responding to questions from WeekendPost, Tshenyego said their records show two ‘serious’ break- in and robbery cases registered under his name while other unconfirmed cases are registered with different police stations. Earlier this week 24 year old Lotlhakane-West born Thabo Olatlheng was killed in Senthumole Ward in Mogoditshane by residents who were tracking him down after a car break in that night. According to Tshenyego, it looks like the deceased had the habit of breaking in cars and that angered the residents.
Olatlheng was a resident of Mogoditshane and Naledi and was serving bail for different offences at the time of his demise. It is also alleged that he was on a bail of a murder, a case police in Mogoditshane could not prove at the time of going to press. “I cannot say he was a criminal but there are cases registered under his name. He was still innocent until proven guilty by the courts of law”, said Tshenyego. However Tshenyego also confirmed that in both two accounts, the perpetrator used violence in his victims something that shows that he was dangerous.
The Acting Station Commander said at the time no arrests have been made because information is not coming forthwith, however they are conducting a lot of interviews. “It is not easy to identify victims unless some people can volunteer information or one of the relatives was there but we are continuing our investigations,” he said.
Prominent Lawyers offered their views on Mob Justice via social media
Those who have blood on their hands must face the full might of the law. Mob (in) justice has no place in a democratic society just as any crime. Yes, when one is under attack they can act in self defence and their conduct must reasonably be aimed at overcoming the threat. Anything beyond that is a crime for which consequences must follow.
I genuinely believed we were past that stage in our national development where we could argue on whether mob justice constitutes acceptable societal intervention against crime. The current debate does not only speak to the extent to which we have been brutalized by crime as a society but also to the extent to which we have lost faith in the law enforcement machinery and the justice system.
It is symptomatic of a damaged societal psyche that needs to be corrected through deliberate community and state led intervention programs that can make us feel safe in our homes. We need to address the crime situation before some among us say, as Edward Aden Tswaipe correctly remarked, that we rape the sisters of those who rape our sisters. Our reasoning as a society has degenerated to that level.
First of all, there is no such thing as mob justice. A mob is not capable of meting out justice (fairness). Mob justice is the law of the jungle which has no place in a civilized society. A civilized society adheres to the rule of law, justice by law and due process. Mob justice is simply barbaric. I hear people arguing that condemning mob justice means we tolerate what the murdered person is alleged to have done. No. Far from it. I am against taking the law into your own hands. I am against you being the complainant, prosecutor, judge and executioner. Until proved guilty, the man is only a suspect. Why not allow the law to take its course?
I perfectly understand that people are sometimes frustrated by law enforcement and justice system. Mob justice is not, however, the answer to that frustration. When you believe in mob justice: when do we follow mob justice and when do we follow due process? How many of us, or those who participated in dispensing with the “justice”, have any evidence of what he is alleged to have done? Now, even assuming that he stole, and that mob justice is acceptable, is murder an appropriate punishment for theft, or whatever he is alleged to have done?
I am watching the debate on lynching of thieves from a safe distance. I am not going to take part in the debate but I have a view, a very strong one for that matter. My view is informed by my experience both as a Lawyer and a victim of crime, not once, not twice. The day these thugs invade your private space (bedroom) in the dead of the night while you are sleeping and brazenly beat the hell out of you in front of your children, you will forget sekgoanyana sekgoanyana se o tholang o se choma ko court le mo FB.
Sometime on or around October 2018, a mob of about 10 young boys attacked me in my car, smashed windows and robbed me of my valuables at knife and gun point. It was the most traumatic experience I have ever had and do not wish it upon anybody. They robbed me of a new S8 or whatever it is was, valued at about 16k, ipad valued at about 12k and an iphone valued at 9k. I had to replace my window and programme the motors at an unGodly amount.
In December 2013, the thugs got into my bedroom and stole huge sums of money, proceeds of motshelo. Following the massive security breach at my residence, we had to put in place massive security upgrades at an exorbitant cost. We literally had to turn the house into a fortress. No arrests were made in both instances.
Immediately after the armed robbery, I was instructed on a matter in which client wanted representation in a case in which he Robbed and murdered someone in Mmopane for his sumsung Mobile phone. The matter was coming up for trial and I told him and his parents in clear and unequivocal terms, that I was a victim of a similar armed robbery a few days back and I shall not take their brief.
The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision to reject and appeal the High Court’s verdict on a case involving High Court Judge, Dr Zein Kebonang has frustrated the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Judge Kebonang’s back to work discussions.
JSC and Kebonang have been in constant discussions over the latter’s return to work following a ruling by a High Court panel of judges clearing him of any wrong doing in the National Petroleum Fund criminal case filed by the DPP. However the finalization of the matter has been hanged on whether the DPP will appeal the matter or not – the prosecution body has since appealed.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top brass has declined a request by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to negotiate the legal fees occasioned by 2019 general elections petition in which the latter disputed in court the outcome of the elections.
This publication is made aware that UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando was left with an egg on his face after the BDP big wigs, comprising of party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane and Secretary General Mpho Balopi rejected his plea.
“He was told that this is a legal matter and therefore their (UDC) lawyer should engage ours (BDP) for negotiations because it is way far from our jurisdiction,” BDP Head of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, told this publication.
This spelt doom for the main opposition party and Saleshando who seems not to have confidence and that the UDC lawyers have the dexterity to negotiate these kind of matters. It is not clear whether Saleshando requested UDC lawyer Boingotlo Toteng to sit at the table with Bogopa Manewe, Tobedza and Co, who are representing the BDP to strike a deal as per the BDP top echelons suggested.
“From my understanding, the matter is dealt with politically as the two parties are negotiating how to resolve it, but by far nothing has come to me on the matter. So I believe they are still substantively engaging each other,” Toteng said briefly in an interview on Thursday.
UDC petitioners saddled with costs after mounting an unprecedented legal suit before the court to try and overturn BDP’s October 2019 victory. The participants in the legal matter involves 15 parliamentary candidates’ and nine councillors. The UDC petitioned the court and contested the outcome of the elections citing “irregularities in some of the constituencies”.
In a brief ruling in January 2020, Judge President Ian Kirby on behalf of a five-member panel said: “We have no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals. These appeals must be struck out each with costs including costs of counsel”. This was a second blow to the UDC in about a month after their 2019 appeals were dismissed by the High Court a day before Christmas Day.
This week BDP attorneys decided to attach UDC petitioners’ property in a bid to settle the debts. UDC President Duma Boko is among those that will see their property being attached with 14 of his party members. “We have attached some and we are on course. So far, Dr. Mpho Pheko (who contested Gaborone Central) and that of Dr, Micus Chimbombi (who contested Kgalagadi South) will have their assets being sold on the 5th of February 2021,” BDP attorney Basimane Bogopa said.
Asked whether they met with UDC lawyers to try solve the matter, Bogopa said no and added. “Remember we are trying to raise the client’s funds, so after these two others will follow. Right now we are just prioritising those from Court of Appeal, as soon as the high court is done with taxation we will attach.”
Saleshando, when contacted about the outcomes of the meeting with the BDP, told WeekendPost that: “It would not be proper and procedural for me to tell you about the meeting outcomes before I share with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC), so I will have to brief them first.”
UDC NEC will meet on the 20th of next month to deal with a number of thorny issues including settling the legal fees. Negotiations with other opposition parties- Alliance for Progressives and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are also on the agenda.
Currently, UDC has raised P44 238 of the P565 000 needed to cover bills from the Court of Appeal (CoA). This is the amount in a UDC trust account which is paltry funds equating 7.8 per cent of the overall required money. In the past despite the petitioners maintaining that there was promise to assist them to settle legal fees, UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa then said the party has never agreed in no way to help them.
“We have just been put in debt by someone,” one of the petitioners told this publication in the past. “President’s (Duma Boko) message was clear at the beginning that money has been sourced somewhere to help with the whole process but now we are here there is nothing and we are just running around trying to make ends meet and pay,” added the petitioner in an interview UDC NEC has in December last year directed all the 57 constituencies to each raise a minimum of P10, 000. The funds will be used to settle debts that are currently engulfing the petitioners with Sheriffs, who are already hovering around ready to attach their assets.
The petitioners, despite the party intervention, have every right to worry. “This is so because ‘the deadline for this initiative (P10, 000 per constituency) is the end of the first quarter of this year (2021),” a period in which the sheriffs would have long auctioned the properties.
President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko’s alliance with former President Lt Gen Ian Khama continues to unsettle some quarters within the opposition collective, who believe the duo, if not managed, will once again result in an unsuccessful bid for government in 2024.
While Khama has denied that he has undeclared preference to have Boko remaining as leader of UDC, many believe that the two have a common programme, while other opposition leaders remain on the side-lines.