Nthuseng Kachamake is one lucky bloke, he will not fully reap the whirlwind after Chief Justice (CJ) Terrance Rannowane ordered that the murder convict be kept in custody as a criminal lunatic. This comes after he was found guilty for the murder of a child and assault of a baby.
Applying what in pedestrian decipher could be adjudged to be a rule of thumb, Rannowane liberated the accused from a possible death sentence on the condition that he was insane when committing the offence. According to the Chief Justice, Kachamake has proven on the balance of probabilities that he was suffering from a disease of the mind that rendered him incapable of understanding what he did.
Kachamake is charged on two counts. For count one – he is charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, while count two, is the murder charge. The court found that there was overwhelming evidence which proved that at the time of killing the deceased and assaulting his baby sister, he thought he was fighting small creatures or zombies because of his psychotic condition which made him hallucinate.
THE METAMORPHOSIS OF KACHAMAKE’S LUNACY
On the 20th of November 2016 at or near Kang village, Kelebetse Tholwane left her two children with her parents and headed for church. Like a bolt from the blue, whilst at church, one lady called her to go home.
“When she arrived home, she found the deceased lying on the ground face down. She observed that he had a wound on the waist. She tried to lift him but he slipped from her hands. She tried again but her mother said she should leave him and she did so. Her mother told her that he was killed by the accused with an axe,” court documents narrate.
The papers further recount that one of the children was injured on the left eye and the ears were bleeding. They went to the local clinic whereupon arrival the doctor confirmed that the other child was late.
Giving oral evidence before court, Kabo Moatlhodi narrated that on the fateful day, he heard a woman crying for help saying the accused was attacking children. He said that he rushed to the scene where he found an old man trying to persuade the accused not to kill the children.
“The old man was carrying another child. While the old man was still talking, the accused chopped the other child who was sleeping on the waist with an axe. Thereafter the accused threw the axe by the firewoods and walked away”.
According to Rannowane’s documents, Kachamake elected to give sworn evidence which was incoherent.
“He said around the 20th of November 2016, he used to walk around or to sleep or just lie down. He used to visit churches and would be told he had spiritual troubles. He was not aware of what happened and he used to see snakes, zombies and thokoloshes and that at the time of the commission of the offences, he was seeing those creatures and was trying to fight them”.
The documents further reveal that accused did not know what was going on and only realized what happened when he was detained.
“He was told that he was the one who committed the offences. He said he knew the children that were the victims of this unfortunate incident and he used to live with them,” Rannowane wrote.
It is further revealed that the accused’s father testified that around October or November 2016, the accused grandfather called him to inform him that his son was unwell.
“He went to observe him and noticed that accused was a bit confused and when he called him he ignored him. He took him to a clinic, where he was interviewed by the doctor, and appeared like he was hallucinating. He saw things that they could not see. The doctors injected him with something that was supposed to calm him down.”
Rannowane noted that it is trite law that in order to prove the guilt of the accused, the state must prove both the act itself and the mental element.
He indicated that the defense has raised the defense of insanity, “That is to say that the accused was insane at the time he committed these offences and therefore not criminally responsible for his acts.”
“Where an accused raises insanity as a defense, the onus rests on him to establish such insanity on the balance of probabilities.”
Rannowane stated that the prosecution did not challenge or dispute the evidence during cross-examination that accused saw zombies and only realized when he was detained that he committed the offence.
“Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest strongly that the accused was suffering hallucination around the time or prior to the attack on the children. The doctor who examined him on the 28th of October 2016 wrote in the accused’s out-patient card which was filed in evidence that the accused suffered Acute psychotic episode”. Rannowane wrote.
It is on that effect that Rannowane found that accused was insane when he committed the offences charged on both counts and ordered the axe and piece of wood used in committing the offences to be forfeited to the state for destruction.
“I shall in due course write a report to his Excellency the President in terms of section 160 (2) of the Criminal Procedures and Evidence Act,” he concluded.
Rannowane’s judgement fails to satisfy the idiom, a sauce for goose is a sauce for gander, meaning the reprieve for Kamachake could be music to his ears but certainly it has not found favour with the family of the victims – but they have to accept the verdict because it is the law – coined in chapter and verse mode!
Insanity is an exception at common law, to rule that is the duty of the prosecution to prove the guilt of accused beyond reasonable doubt – Chief Justice Rannowane
BPC Signs PPA with Sekaname Energy
The Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) has taken a significant step towards diversifying its energy mix by signing a power purchase agreement with Sekaname Energy for the production of power from coal bed methane in Mmashoro village. This agreement marks a major milestone for the energy sector in Botswana as the country transitions from a coal-fired power generation system to a new energy mix comprising coal, gas, solar, and wind.
The CEO of BPC, David Kgoboko, explained that the Power Purchase Agreement is for a 6MW coal bed methane proof of concept project to be developed around Mmashoro village. This project aligns with BPC’s strategic initiatives to increase the proportion of low-carbon power generation sources and renewable energy in the energy mix. The use of coal bed methane for power generation is an exciting development as it provides a hybrid solution with non-dispatchable sources of generation like solar PV. Without flexible base-load generation, the deployment of non-dispatchable solar PV generation would be limited.
Kgoboko emphasized that BPC is committed to enabling the development of a gas supply industry in Botswana. Sekaname Energy, along with other players in the coal bed methane exploration business, is a key and strategic partner for BPC. The successful development of a gas supply industry will enable the realization of a secure and sustainable energy mix for the country.
The Minister of Minerals & Energy, Lefoko Moagi, expressed his support for the initiative by the private sector to develop a gas industry in Botswana. The country has abundant coal reserves, and the government fully supports the commercial extraction of coal bed methane gas for power generation. The government guarantees that BPC will purchase the generated electricity at reasonable tariffs, providing cash flow to the developers and enabling them to raise equity and debt funding for gas extraction development.
Moagi highlighted the benefits of developing a gas supply industry, including diversified primary energy sources, economic diversification, import substitution, and employment creation. He commended Sekaname Energy for undertaking a pilot project to prove the commercial viability of extracting coal bed methane for power generation. If successful, this initiative would unlock the potential of a gas production industry in Botswana.
Sekaname Energy CEO, Peter Mmusi, emphasized the multiple uses of natural gas and its potential to uplift Botswana’s economy. In addition to power generation, natural gas can be used for gas-to-liquids, compressed natural gas, and fertilizer production. Mmusi revealed that Sekaname has already invested $57 million in exploration and infrastructure throughout its resource area. The company plans to spend another $10-15 million for the initial 6MW project and aims to invest over $500 million in the future for a 90MW power plant. Sekaname’s goal is to assist BPC in becoming a net exporter of power within the region and to contribute to Botswana’s transition to cleaner energy production.
In conclusion, the power purchase agreement between BPC and Sekaname Energy for the production of power from coal bed methane in Mmashoro village is a significant step towards diversifying Botswana’s energy mix. This project aligns with BPC’s strategic initiatives to increase the proportion of low-carbon power generation sources and renewable energy. The government’s support for the development of a gas supply industry and the commercial extraction of coal bed methane will bring numerous benefits to the country, including economic diversification, import substitution, and employment creation. With the potential to become a net exporter of power and a cleaner energy producer, Botswana is poised to make significant strides in its energy sector.
UDC deadlock: Boko, Ndaba, Reatile meet
It is not clear as to when, but before taking a festive break in few weeks’ time UDC leaders would have convened to address the ongoing deadlock surrounding constituency allocation in the negotiations for the 2024 elections. The leaders, Duma Boko of the UDC, Mephato Reggie Reatile of the BPF, and Ndaba Gaolathe of the AP, are expected to meet and discuss critical matters and engage in dialogue regarding the contested constituencies.
The negotiations hit a stalemate when it came to allocating constituencies, prompting the need for the leaders to intervene. Representatives from the UDC, AP, and BPF were tasked with negotiating the allocation, with Dr. Patrick Molotsi and Dr. Philip Bulawa representing the UDC, and Dr. Phenyo Butale and Wynter Mmolotsi representing the AP.
The leaders’ meeting is crucial in resolving the contentious issue of constituency allocation, which has caused tension among UDC members and potential candidates for the 2024 elections. After reaching an agreement, the leaders will engage with the members of each constituency to gauge their opinions and ensure that the decisions made are favored by the rank and file. This approach aims to avoid unnecessary costs and conflicts during the general elections.
One of the main points of contention is the allocation of Molepolole South, which the BNF is adamant about obtaining. In the 2019 elections, the UDC was the runner-up in Molepolole South, securing the second position in seven out of eight wards. Other contested constituencies include Metsimotlhabe, Kgatleng East and West, Mmadinare, Francistown East, Shashe West, Boteti East, and Lerala Maunatlala.
The criteria used for constituency allocation have also become a point of dispute among the UDC member parties. The issue of incumbency is particularly contentious, as the criterion for constituency allocation suggests that current holders of UDC’s council and parliamentary seats should be given priority for re-election without undergoing primary elections. Disadvantaged parties argue that this approach limits democratic competition and hinders the emergence of potentially more capable candidates.
Another disputed criterion is the allocation based on the strength and popularity of a party in specific areas. Parties argue that this is a subjective criterion that leads to disputes and favoritism, as clear metrics for strength and visibility cannot be defined. The BNF, in particular, questions the demands of the new entrants, the BPF and AP, as they lack a traceable track record to support their high expectations.
The unity and cohesion of the UDC are at stake, with the BPF and AP expressing dissatisfaction and considering withdrawing from the negotiations. Therefore, it is crucial for the leaders to expedite their meeting and find a resolution to these disputes.
In the midst of these negotiations, the BNF has already secured 15 constituencies within the UDC coalition. While the negotiations are still ongoing, BNF Chairman Dr. Molotsi revealed that they have traditionally held these constituencies and are expecting to add more to their tally. The constituencies include Gantsi North, Gantsi South, Kgalagadi North, Kgalagadi South, Good Hope – Mmathethe, Kanye North, Kanye South, Lobatse, Molepolole North, Gaborone South, Gaborone North, Gaborone Bonnignton North, Takatokwane, Letlhakeng, and Tlokweng.
The resolution of the contested constituencies will test the ability of the UDC to present a united front in the 2024 National Elections will depend on the decisions made by the three leaders. It is essential for them to demonstrate maturity and astuteness in resolving the constituency allocation deadlock and ensuring the cohesion of the UDC.
Repeat flight-risk suspect pays the piper
In Botswana, the Constitution Section 5 (3) (b) provides that conditions of bail are necessary to ensure that an accused appears at a later date for trial or for proceedings preliminary to trial. These conditions may include restrictions on interfering with state witnesses, the payment of a certain amount, the provision of sureties, the submission of travel documents, reporting to the police regularly, and appearing for all court mentions or proceedings. Failure to abide by these conditions can result in the revocation of bail. Robert Seditseng, a murder accused who has been detained since 2016, is currently facing the consequences of not adhering to his bail conditions – therefore paying the piper.
Despite numerous unsuccessful bail applications over the past five years, Gaborone High Court judge Michael Leburu denied Seditseng bail this week. Seditseng had requested to be set free before his trial starts on April 12th, but his freedom will now depend on the verdict. He is charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Siscah Mutukee, on June 22nd, 2016, in Charleshill.
Judge Leburu ruled that Seditseng is not a candidate for bail due to being a flight risk, as he has previously absconded from court. Defense lawyer David Ndlovu pleaded with the court to consider the time Seditseng has already spent in prison, but Leburu questioned whether there was any guarantee that Seditseng would not abscond again, given that he had done so twice before.
An affidavit from Investigations officer (IO), Constable Kedibonye Botsalo, supports the view that Seditseng is not a suitable candidate for bail due to his tendency to abscond when granted bail. The affidavit explains that Seditseng was initially denied bail by the magistrate court due to ongoing investigations and the possibility of tampering with evidence. However, a concession was later made by the prosecution, and Seditseng was granted conditional bail by the lower court.
The court documents reveal that Seditseng failed to appear before court on March 7th, 2016, without providing any explanation. As a result, a warrant for his arrest was issued. The case proceeded without him on several occasions until he finally appeared before court on July 13th, 2017. On that day, Seditseng’s bail was revoked due to his inability to provide valid reasons for his absences.
On October 4th, 2017, Seditseng was granted bail for the second time. However, he was once again absent from court on October 31st, 2017, without providing any reasons. He continued to be absent from court on five subsequent occasions until his arrest and appearance before court on August 30th, 2018.
During a period of nine months, Seditseng absconded from court without providing any reasons for his actions. This repeated pattern of absconding demonstrates a clear disregard for the bail conditions and raises concerns about his willingness to appear for trial.
Given Seditseng’s history of absconding and the potential risk of him doing so again, Judge Leburu’s decision to deny him bail is justified. The purpose of bail is to ensure the accused’s presence at trial, and Seditseng has repeatedly shown a lack of commitment to fulfilling this obligation. It is crucial to prioritize the safety of the community and the integrity of the justice system by keeping flight-risk suspects like Seditseng in custody until their trial is concluded.
In conclusion, the denial of bail to repeat flight-risk suspect Robert Seditseng is a necessary measure to ensure his appearance at trial. His history of absconding from court and failure to provide valid reasons for his actions demonstrate a disregard for the bail conditions and raise concerns about his willingness to face justice. By denying him bail, the court is prioritizing the safety of the community and upholding the integrity of the justice system.