Ditshwanelo criticises insurance killer death sentencing

The Botswana Centre for Human Rights, Ditshwanelo, has expressed concern and great disappointment at the death sentence of Thato Tsametse, 34, from Tumasera. Tsametse was sentenced to death on May 23 by Justice Modiri Letsididi at the Lobatse High Court.
The Botswana Centre for Human Rights, Ditshwanelo, has expressed concern and great disappointment at the death sentence of Thato Tsametse, 34, from Tumasera. Tsametse was sentenced to death on May 23 by Justice Modiri Letsididi at the Lobatse High Court.

The Botswana Centre for Human Rights, Ditshwanelo, has expressed concern and great disappointment at the death sentence of Thato Tsametse, 34, from Tumasera. Tsametse was sentenced to death on May 23 by Justice Modiri Letsididi at the Lobatse High Court.

Tsametse was sentenced for the 2018 murder of his 16-year-old cousin, Arnold Ofentse, at Mogoditshane, for insurance money.

Currently, 16 men are on death row in Botswana.

Ditshwanelo remains opposed to and condemns the use of the death penalty as a means of punishment. "We reiterate that our Government should 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.


Ditshwanelo continues to call on 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 the committing of capital offences including the increasing cases of gender-based violence", they wrote in their statement.

They further state that they remain steadfast in their belief in the responsibility to protect the right to life.

Ditshwanelo urges that government should seriously explore other forms of punishment for capital offences as a demonstration of its commitment to respect the dignity of all human beings - including offenders.

"We urge that the current review of our Constitution should include the death penalty public debates as well as an informed referendum to ensure effective public participation in the Constitution review," they stated.

According to court documents, Tsametse had in 2017 set a plan in motion to start a cab business. He decided to insure his little cousin living with his (Tsametse's) mother with two identical Mmoloki policies at maximum covers of P25,000 each.

The policies matured after six months, he could cash in if Ofentse passed on. He waited two more months, probably setting a plan in motion and in the early days of March 2018, he took his little cousin on a walk, taking him to a huge Morula tree near Mogoditshane Senior School where he unleashed terror. According to court documents, he stabbed him four times in the neck and he died. While police investigations began, Tsametse went to Botswana Life to claim P50,000 for his two policies on Ofentse. A Botswana Life agent who assisted him testified in court that the claim was suspicious and they informed the police of their suspicions. The police took him on and released him shortly after. He claimed the insurance money and purchased a Honda Fit and a cellphone for his cab business.

He would then approach a traditional healer seeking protection from the police. The healer and his colleague prepared a bath and called the police while Tsametse was bathing. He would then confess his deeds and recover the clothes and shoes he wore on the night. In court, he denied killing his cousin and claimed he was tortured into confession. The state's case was strong and he was convicted.

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Women in Politics caucus NGO, a welcome development

In the 2014 General Election, women who stood for parliamentary elections were a mere 17 out of a total of 192 aspirants, and sadly the number dropped to 11 out of 210 parliamentary aspirants in the 2019 General Election. Hopefully, registration of the Women in Politics Caucus will give women the necessary support to join politics. While things were slowly improving, women for a long time were at the receiving end as compared to their male...

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