A wedding ceremony at Goo-Ruele ward in Kanye recently turned sour on the day a bride price of cattle was supposed to be paid after it emerged that five of the beasts were allegedly stolen.
Following a tip-off, the police raided the ceremony and retrieved the beasts leaving the groom, bride and their families in utter humiliation. Guests are said to have watched in shock as the police stormed the event and confiscated the stolen cattle as they were about to be presented as bride price. “It was embarrassing as the wedding had to stop while we took the couple for questioning and disrupted their agenda,” said the Botswana Police Service (BPS) public relations officer, Dipheko Motube. He said the groom bought the five heifers from one Kelepile Ngwanawamodimo and one Tumisang Motingwakgama both of Kanye. The duo are currently in custody after being arrested and charged with an offence of stock theft. Motube said the two suspects were found in possession of stolen beasts, which they failed to account for.
He pleaded with members of the public to be cautious at all times, especially when having ceremonies to avoid falling prey of rustlers.
“Stock theft is real and soaring countrywide, hence pleading with people to follow the right procedure when purchasing livestock.
“There is the right procedure that people should follow, which is done at the Kgotla when purchasing livestock to avoid falling victims of stock theft.
“As the police, we do not want to interrupt or inconvenience anyone, but we are forced to do our job if an offence has been committed in ceremonies like what transpired at Kanye,” Motube said. Motube added that the police were concerned by the alarming rate of stock theft, stating that it has since been established that most of the meat consumed in Gaborone and major neighbouring villages was from stolen livestock, making stock theft one of the most lucrative undertakings in the country.
He raised a concern that stock theft has become a well-paying job for perpetrators as the demand for meat remains high with some butcheries allegedly appearing to be relying on stolen livestock for supplies.
“Stock theft is difficult to be contained with farmers’ dreams being shattered in a blink of an eye. Ever since the launch of Kgomokhumo
He said as BPS, they have observed that some people have acquired their riches through stock theft, hence warning such people that the government is going to seize such riches. He urged farmers to brand their cattle to curb stock theft as rustlers are reported to target stray unbranded cattle.
Motube said there were over-spilling reservoirs in south identified as the thieves’ bases who hang around only to pounce on the cattle. Reached for a comment, the bride, Kefilwe Kgotla told The Monitor that it was a sad and embarrassing moment, more especially to her parents who had received the bride price, but were shocked when the police said they came to confiscate the cattle, because they were suspected stolen.
“We bought six cattle from them, which they claimed were theirs, and we were shocked when the police raided our ceremony and took away the cattle. Luckily, the police found them in the kraal whilst waiting to be branded,” she said.
Kgotla said that even though the ceremony was almost complete, what transpired hurt them the most, because they had paid the suspects the agreed amount. “They were adamant that they owned the cattle even before the customary court where they (cattle) were presented the day the bride price was paid,” she said of the men.
Kgotla said they were shocked to see the police coming to them, to say they wanted the cattle because they were suspected stolen.
“We have not yet met them, but we need our money back because they lied to us and got us into trouble with the police. We are so hurt because they embarrassed us on our big day despite having paid them P16, 800 cash. We need our money back,” Kgotla said.