The family of a man initially accused of beheading his lover last year July in Gaborone is demanding answers from the country’s justice system following the withdrawal of the charge by the State.
Simon Badisa Kgowe, whose murder charge was recently withdrawn, was in 2018 arrested on suspicions that he killed his girlfriend, Elizabeth Bonolo Kerekang.
The withdrawal of the charge has enraged Kgowe’s family, who maintained that the accused was innocent and he was wrongly being prosecuted. On the other hand, the police then alleged that Kgowe decapitated Kerekang at Block 3 location in Gaborone and later cast off her body at Maratanang ward in Tlokweng. She was buried without a head.
Last week Monday the police revealed that forensic findings confirmed that a human skull found by some manual workers at Gaborone’s Block 7 recently belongs to Kerekang. Following the recent police findings, The Monitor interviewed both the deceased and Kgowe’s families.
The Kgowe family disclosed it was still seeking answers from the police on the arrest. The family accuses the police of torturing Kgowe at the time of his arrest for a crime he did not commit hence the reason for the inquiry. Kgowe’s father, Jacob said since last year at the time of his son’s arrest the family suffered psychological and financial stress after continued efforts to clear his (Kgowe) name.
Regarding the withdrawal of the charge against Kgowe, Jacob said the family has gone through a lot following the alleged murder. He added that even though they all along knew that Kgowe did not commit such a gruesome offence the fact that he was labelled as a murderer traumatised the whole family. “Kgowe loved his late girlfriend dearly such that he could not commit such a gruesome act. On July 13th Extension II Chief Magistrate Batho Kgerethwa withdrew the murder charge against our son, but we are still unhappy on the way the case was handled and we need explanation,” added Jacob.
He said during the time when Kerekang’s head was missing they were not worried that much because they knew that Kgowe was innocent. He emphasised their disappointment the manner in which the police and prosecution handled the case.
Jacob accused the duo (police and prosecution) of dragging the case for more than a year before they withdrew the charge.
“His charge could have been dropped last year December but the police played delay tactics. They might have done so because they didn’t want to appear as if they did not conduct their investigations thoroughly and consequently charged the wrong person. We will not rest. We want answers for the trauma and humiliation that our son and the family went through. The country’s legal system should be accountable,” said Jacob.
Jacob said two weeks ago they wrote and submitted a letter to the Office of the President stating their grievance as well as seeking answers.
For its part the deceased’s family said it is not yet in the position to talk to the media regarding Elizabeth Bonolo’s death.
“The case and investigations on the matter are still ongoing hence we cannot say anything at this point to the media. However, when that time comes, reya go bua sengwe le sengwe gore go diragetse eng rele borra Kerekang, we will open up and share with everyone what transpired including the media. That is what I can say for now,” Kerekang’s mother briefly said before hanging up the phone.
Reached for comment on the allegations, the Botswana Police Service’s (BPS) deputy public relations officer, senior superintendent Near Bagali said the wheels of justice drive slowly therefore Kgowe’s family should be patient and allow the justice system to give the case the attention it deserves.
“We cannot sacrifice essential ingredients of justice, this is a murder case and the intension is not to leave any stone unturned. We cannot run over this case because it involves the life of an individual that was taken so savagely,” Bagali said.
Bagali added charges are withdrawn because that allows the police to further their investigations. He said as the police their investigations cannot be determined by what people say or their sentiments.
“Investigations into matters like this require time to be further investigated, it can take up to five years or even more investigating a murder case,” Bagali added.