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Ditshwanelo condemns murder convict execution

NNASARETHA KGAMANYANE
Hanged. Mmika Michael Mpe
The Botswana Centre for Human Rights, Ditshwanelo has condemned government's execution of Mmika Michael Mpe who was convicted for the brutal murder of his employer, Reinette Vorster in 2014.

The Mpe’s execution took place on February 21, 2020 at the Gaborone Central Prison. He was convicted alongside Tshiamo Kgalalelo for killing Vorster, a business woman at Okwa Valley Farm in Gantsi. 

“Ditshwanelo remains opposed to and condemns the use of the death penalty as a means of punishment. We continue to appeal to our government to take the lead in condemning (and not, itself using) the use of force, which leads to the loss of life and instead strive to protect life, including that of the offender,” riths agency noted in a press statement. 

 The human rights organisation also called on the government to address the greater challenge of societal degeneration, and look for alternatives to addressing the cause of increasing anti-social behaviour which may result in  committing of capital offences. These include, the increased reporting of acts of mob violence meted out by citizens reportedly frustrated with the legal system.

Ditshwanelo also called upon the government to clearly state its position on the matter and address the concerns raised by the public. It urged that the proposed review of Botswana Constitution should include the protection of the right to a dignified life, including the life of offenders.   

“We remain steadfast in its belief in the responsibility to protect the right to life. We once again reiterate that the loss of all life is always deeply regrettable. We further urge our Government to seriously explore other forms of punishment for capital offences, as a demonstration of its

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commitment to respect the dignity of all human beings including that of offenders,” they stated. 

Mpe’s death row inmate Kgalalelo died last year May at Princess Marina Hospital (PMH) where he was hospitalised following referral from prison sickbay. The deceased had been on death row since 2017 and their sentences were confirmed early last year following failed appeal.

Back in 2014, the duo was alleged to have attacked Vorster, stole her Toyota Hilux valued at P300,000, two cellular phones and cash amounting to P11,000. They attacked their employer when she was driving from her farm to Gantsi, murdered and burnt her inside the vehicle.

Lobatse High Court judge, Abednego Tafa in 2017 ruled that Kgalalelo and Mpe should be ‘hung by their necks until they died’ for their roles in the robbery, murder and arson attack on Vorster. The sentence came after Tafa failed to find extenuating circumstances for the pair’s crime.

The duo was initially sentenced to 10 years for robbery, five years for theft of motor vehicle, three years for malicious damage to property and one year for abduction. They had also been charged with sexual assault, but the court acquitted them on those charges due to insufficient evidence.

During their arrest they claimed to had been subjected to near-slavery and had hit out in an attempt to only rob Reinette, before the situation got out of control. Their appeal against conviction and sentence was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on February 8, 2019.



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