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Thabo Masilo faces a conceivable death sentence

Lobatse High Court Judge Abednico Tafa has this week found the murder accused Thabo Masilo finally guilty of murder after a long drawn trial. When reading down the judgement in a room 5 packed hall in court, Tafa emphasised that “Masilo is found guilty of murder and charged accordingly.”

He also stated that the accused murderer is cleared off in the cases of robbery: “he is not found guilty of robbery and therefore discharged.” Justice Tafa set the 7th of February next year as the next stage for extenuating factors and resubmission while the convicted Masilo awaits sentencing. The judge observed that Masilo is convicted of murder because death was proved beyond reasonable doubt and that in the process wound was afflicted by the accused person who stabbed the victim 3 times at different body parts.

He said in his ruling that the stabbing led to her severe bleeding that eventually steered to Tshepang Motlhabane’s death later on the day. Masilo, who was 20 years at the time of the incident, was then charged of brutally killing the form 5 student schooling at St. Joseph‘s College Tshepang Motlhabane. The cold blooded murder took place in Phase 4 five years ago (2012) in Gaborone where the then 19 year old girl was staying with her parents who were not home at the time of the fateful incident.   

The now convicted Masilo was indicted with two counts; the first one being that of murder and the second one robbery as per the charge sheet. Both charges were said to have taken place on 16th November 2018 still in Gaborone. In terms of robbery he was accused of mugging the same victim he murdered by using violence to acquire a Nokia cell phone valued at BWP900 as well as a Samsung cellphone costing BWP1500, both of which belonged to Tshepang although the charges have now been dismissed.

However recently, in one of the court appearances, Masilo who said Tshepang Motlhabane was his girlfriend, admitted to murdering her but was quick to stress that it was for self-defence as the victim grabbed him with his private parts when demanding for his belongings which he said was a BWP100 and a cellphone she gave her prior but refused and killed her in a heated moment.  

On his version of events, Masilo narrated to court that on the fateful day the deceased had invited him over to her house while adding that it was a normal day between the two ‘lovers’ and that things turned nauseating when he enquired about the money that he (Masilo) had lent Motlhabane as well as the cellphone she had borrowed prior.

Masilo told court that when lending the deceased money earlier he had indicated to her that it was his transport money and that he would need it back at some point. According to Masilo, the argument became intense when the two were inside the kitchen. During the quarrel, Masilo says, he snatched Motlhabane’s cell phones and that she retaliated by grabbing his private parts.

“Acting in pain Masilo says he then hastily grabbed one of the knives lying in the kitchen and stabbed her, all in the effort to get her away from him. The wounded Motlhabane, according to Masilo, then ran to the living room where she was able to press the security panic button before she went to the nearest room where she locked herself up and waited for help.” Meanwhile, Masilo is currently serving 10 years behind bars for raping and robbing another woman in Phase 4 after he was also convicted by the Village Chief Magistrate Lenah Oahile-Mokibe earlier this year.

Masilo faces death penalty or life time sentence imprisonment in terms of the Penal code. The death sentence is usually issued upon murder under aggravated circumstances and is carried out by hanging until one dies. In rare circumstances where the matter is regarded as manslaughter instead of murder, the convicted murder accused get sentence to approximately 20 years behind bars. In Botswana capital punishment is a legal penalty and it is one of a few democracies in the world which continue to enforce it.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.

Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021
LAWRENCE-OOKEDITSE

Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.

Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.

Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”

“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.

He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.

He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.

According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.

There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.

Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.

“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication.
The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.

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