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Lovers’ tragic end tears families apart

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BY YVONNE MOOKA Residents of Molepolole are still reeling in shock following the murder, incident that happened in broad daylight last week. It is one that has left families bitter with each other as the woman, Mogomotsi Sadie Gofetolwang’s family denies knowing her killer, let alone, ever dating Ofentse Mosuagae, 27. On Monday April 16th, Ofentse slit Mogomotsi, 20, with a knife in a bushy area a stone’s throw away from her mother’s place, at around 3pm at Mokgopeetsana ward. The Midweek Sun learns that the two were lovers, but from the interviews with each of the two families involved, there seems to be a disagreement on their relationship status. According to Mogomotsi’s mother Kelesaletse Gofetolwang, her daughter left home for Gaborone the previous Saturday in the afternoon ostensibly to collect her clothes from her cousin.

She had been job-hunting in the city but to no avail. She came back to Molepolole on Monday and informed her family that she was going to apply for a new national Identity Card (Omang). “At around 2pm, her younger sister called her and she told her that she was on her way and that they would go and buy meat together,” says the mother. Then an hour later a neighbour was screaming her name telling her that Mogomotsi is dead. She immediately called her husband and informed him and rushed to the murder scene, where they met. She says that the man was hanging on a tree next to her daughter. “We don’t know him or his family. My daughter had a man and a two year-old daughter, and he comes here all the time,” she said in tears. Mogomotsi’s father Boikhutso Gofetolwang was angry that the family of his daughter’s killer had not set foot at their home even after the incident.

Ofentse’s older sister, Gorata Mosuagae however had a different story. She told The Midweek Sun that Mogomotsi and Ofentse were lovers and that everyone in the village knew about them. She however said that Mogomotsi was never honest with her brother as she hid her relationship with the man with whom she had a baby. What more, according to Gorata, Mogomotsi never told Ofentse that she was a mother. She said her brother found out after Mogomotsi’s mother had come to complain about their relationship at their place, that his beloved girl was a mother. “Her mother came with her here last year complaining that my brother was interfering in Mogomotsi’s relationship with the father of her child, and we were shocked to hear that because not only was he not aware that there was a child in the picture but he also told us she had a miscarriage with his baby a few weeks before,” she said, narrating that Mogomotsi had lied to Ofentse that she was five months pregnant with his child.

Just when Ofentse was over the moon about having a baby, Mogomotsi shocked him one day when she asked for money saying she had a miscarriage and was admitted at Princess Marina Hospital. “And then that same night, he found her at a bar drunk. Upon confronting her, she ran and jumped inside a car and went away,” she said, adding that her brother then decided to go and wait for her at her place, where Mogomotsi’s father chased him away with a belt. Her take is that Mogomotsi loved Ofentse for his money. He was working for a local security company. She said that her late brother had confided in friends and cousins that his girlfriend was materialistic. “Actually, she would break up with him and later send him call-me-backs every month end. Just last week, I heard him asking her to bring back his ATM card,” she said, adding that she had seen messages on her brother’s phone from Mogomotsi stating that she still loved him. “She told him that it was her parents that hate him and that she will always love him,” said the sister. She said that at one point, Ofentse borrowed P2000 from their mother under the pretext that he was going to apply for a driver’s license, only for him to confess later that it was Mogomotsi who needed the money to help her father fix his car. Mogomotsi’s friend confirmed that she was in a relationship with Ofentse. “He was in love with her but she never thought he’d be serious about her. But yes, she had a baby father,” she said, adding however, that Ofentse knew about the father and daughter. She stated that Ofentse was possessive.

The lovers were buried on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Molepolole Police Station Assistant Superintendent Bontse Segale confirmed the incident and said it was a passer-by that reported it. She said that the man was walking from Logonono ward when he saw the couple talking under a tree and upon return found the man and woman dead next to each other. “It looks like they were in a relationship. I’d like to encourage couples to seek help from friends, relatives and social workers when misunderstandings happen,” she said.

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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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