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MAYOR FINDS HIS PEARL

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When Gaborone Mayor Kagiso Thutlwe advertised his birthday party, ‘The Mayor’s Birthday Bash’ that was held last Saturday at My Kind of Place, Riverwalk, not many people knew what was on his mind. Perhaps, other than his famous Colgate smile as social media users call it, many were just looking for a night of dance and drinks with him. Those closest to him say he is generally bubbly and a great company.

But the mayor stunned people when he at some point went down on his knees proposing marriage to Botho Pearl Dipatane. In a video circulating on his Facebook page, he is heard asking the lucky woman whose life is about to change, “Please, I’m only asking you, will you marry me?” to the applause of the attendants, chanting YES! In an interview with The Midweek Sun, Thutlwe said that he had found his soul-mate.

He has always believed in having a family as he grew up in a nuclear family. He says he did the planning stage of the engagement without giving his fiancé a hint. He describes the soon-to-be Mrs Thutlwe as a God-fearing woman, his pillar of strength and a woman who believes in him and supports him. “She qualifies to be with me forever. As politicians, we need women who can run the race with us. We travel a lot hence we need women of prestige and honour. Women who will advise us,” he says.

However, he says that they have not yet set their wedding date as they have to engage their parents first. “I have to do things procedurally by paying lobola,” he says. For her part, Dipatane said that she was happy that Thutlwe proposed. She says that when they got back together this year May, the Mayor made his intentions clear that he wanted to make her his wife. “He was against engagement, saying he believes in a wedding,” she says. So when they went to the party venue last Saturday, she was just attending as a girlfriend with no expectations of a ring whatsoever.

But she says she had been unsettled when Thutlwe asked her to wear a silver watch and silver shoes that he bought for her. “At his party, he was restless throughout and I even took his phone as I wanted to ensure he enjoys his day,” she says. But again, she says she could not understand why the Mayor had no birthday cake and why he refused for her to buy it for him. “All along, he had been planning well,” she says.

So when the cake finally arrived and the Mayor was ushered to the podium to speak, he also took the chance to speak well of her and how she has impacted his life, and proposed. “My man is very romantic, has a good heart and he likes people. He’s a great man,” she says of him. Meanwhile, Thutlwe’s ex-girlfriend Kesego Maphakela who has a three year-old daughter with him says she wishes him all the best in both his personal and political life.

“He is a wonderful father to our daughter, and even though our relationship didn’t work, I know he is not a bad man,” she says, adding that she has also moved on with her life. Thutlwe also shared that they have a good mutual understanding regarding their daughter. “We respect each other. We have a beautiful princess together,” he says.

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Cops are not monsters – Matlapeng

Yvonne Mooka

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Crime becomes easier to fight when members of the society and the police work together, says Sejelo Police Station Commander Superintendent Mogomotsi Matlapeng.

“Police of today go to the people. We want them to see that we are not fighting them but fighting crime, hence we want to join hands with them,” said the police boss, who joined the police station this year in May from Broadhurst Police station in Gaborone.

He said that gone are the days when police officers were feared by members of the community. Supt. Matlapeng is likeable among members of his staff and the community of Kanye. He has won the hearts of many villagers in a short period of time because of his efforts to take the police station to the people.

Under him, Sejelo Police was awarded Station Community Policing award for this year by the Botswana Police Service. “We go to the people and address their issues. As a philosopher and a perfectionist myself, I believe that community policing is the way to go. “We go to schools and speak to teachers on certain issues relevant to the students. Our clusters also visit local wards to teach parents about pressing matters pertaining to crime,” he said.

Other than stock theft, the police station has recorded relatively low crime statistics. The station covers Kanye Kgosing ward, Moshana, Gasita and Selokolela.

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Murder convict, Masilo not going down without a “fight”

Keletso Thobega

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Thabo Masilo did not cringe when Judge Abednigo Tafa found him guilty of murder this past Thursday. Masilo stood erect staring ahead as if in a trance.

There was not a mutter in the courtroom when Justice Tafa stated that Masilo had intentionally murdered former St. Joseph’s College learner Tshepang Motlhabane on 16 November 2012 in Phase 4 Gaborone. In his ruling, Tafa argued that Masilo could not claim that he was acting in self defence when he had stabbed Tshepang three times. Masilo had through his lawyer Kgosi Ngakayagae insisted that Tshepang was his lover and he had stabbed her following an altercation because she had grabbed him by the balls when he had demanded his phone and P100 he had borrowed her.

Post mortem results show that Motlhabane had three wounds and died from a vein rupture. “If it was indeed self-defence, he would have not stabbed the deceased three times in different places. It is without a doubt that the accused had come to the house with the intention to commit an offence but faced with resistence from his victim, he decided to stab her,” said the judge.
He however dismissed the robbery charge.

It remains a mystery how Masilo gained entry into the property, which had a high wall and alarm system. Curious members of the public, relatives and friends of Tshepang as well as relatives of Masilo flocked Court Room 5 of Lobatse High Court for the ruling. The courtroom was so packed that some people sat at the back on the floor.

Masilo, who has lost a lot of weight, seemed to suffer a ‘leaky bladder’ as he went to the bathroom several times, escorted by prison officers. At one point during the long ruling, Masilo stopped proceedings, and through his lawyer Ngakayagae, complained that there were certain people in the courtroom taking pictures of him.

These people were seen by him only. The ruling that was read over nearly two hours painted a sad ending for the little girl who sustained wounds above the eye, on the chest and died a day after the attack. Tshepang is said to have at one point said to a nurse and relative: A lo boleletse mama gore ke a swa (Did you tell my mother that I am dying). Information provided by medical personnel indicates that she had lost a lot of blood.

Tafa read statements by 13 witnesses including Security System officers, police officers, a forensic expert, nurse, doctor, a relative and a photojournalist. All corroborated that the girl had been attacked and had locked herself in her bedroom from her assailant, who was much later found in hiding in the house. Masilo had claimed that he and the deceased were dating and he had loaned her P100 and his Nokia phone. However, when he visited her and asked that she return the money, a fight ensued and she held him by the testicles.

This, he claimed, led to him taking a kitchen knife and stabbing her in self-defence because she did not want to let go of him. Tafa said that this version of events was questionable and noted that only the accused and deceased were in the house at the said time and it would be difficult to determine exactly what had happened. He however said that there was no doubt that Masilo had killed Motlhabane.

He also noted that Masilo’s actions showed guilt as he had hidden in the ceiling of the house when he heard Security Systems personnel breaking into the house, and had also claimed to have drunk poison. He said if it was not his intention to kill Tshepang; he would have cooperated with the security officers and asked them to help Tshepang promptly.

Following the ruling, Masilo’s lawyer Ngakayagae asked for a date to be set for submissions on extenuation, saying that they would present three witnesses. The date was set to 7 February 2019 at the Gaborone High Court.

Masilo, who is already serving 15 years for robbery and rape, appears to come from a decent home. Many of his relatives were in court to offer moral support. His mother, who appeared agitated, has been by his side from day one. Considering that the family is paying one of the best lawyers in the country, it is safe to say that money is not a problem.

Although Masilo has already been found guilty, the fight appears to be for a more lenient sentence as he faces the hangman’s noose. Outside court, different camps spoke in hushed tones discussing the ruling. The mother of the late Tshepng looked sombre and frail. It is clear that the pain has not left her.

Shying away from flashing cameras and curious glances, she briefly said she was pleased Masilo had been found guilty but refused to comment further. An unidentified family representative chipped in that they were happy with the ruling. Quizzed on how they felt about Masilo she said: “We have forgiven him because we are Christians. But we are glad that justice will be served.”

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