FRANCISTOWN: A Zimbabwean father, 41, is in hot water after he allegedly ‘failed’ to adequately secure his loaded firearm used in the fatal shooting of his six-year-old daughter by her 14-year-old half-brother while at playtime.
On Wednesday Sibangelizwe Ncube landed in trouble after one of his two sons from Zimbabwe, took the unsecured but loaded firearm that he fatally shot his Motswana half-sister with during playtime.
Ncube, a labourer at Mosweu’s farm in the vicinity of Tonota village, appeared before Magistrate Thapelo Buang for arraignment on Friday. He readily pleaded guilty to the charge of entering Botswana illegally in 2001 but did not plead guilty to the offences of recklessly and negligently handling a firearm, and another charge of negligent or ill-treatment of children.
According to the charge sheet, Ncube without any lawful excuse recklessly left his loaded firearm unsecured, which resulted in the death of his daughter, Caroline Benkele on September 15, 2021, at Mogobewabasadi cattlepost.
The State alleges that without any lawful excuse, Ncube neglected his two Zimbabwean sons, Melous and Alex Ncube, and their half-sister from Botswana, Benkele.
After Ncube pleaded guilty to entering Botswana unlawfully, inspector Kenneth Edward told the court that investigations concerning the other counts have been completed.
Therefore, Edward applied for Ncube to be remanded in custody pending the finalisation of all his matters before the court.
When Magistrate Buang asked Ncube if he had anything to say concerning his remand in custody application made by the State, Ncube told the court that although he was born in 1980, a few years before the Gukurahundi atrocities were committed, he escaped from his home in the Matebelelands to Botswana in 2001 because he and his family were still being persecuted owing to their ethnicity and political views. ‘Gukurahundi’ is a Shona word loosely meaning, “the early rain that washes away the chaff” in English.
The killings bearing that name left as many as 20,000 people dead between 1983 and 1987. During Gukurahundi, late Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe had deployed the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade soldiers in the Matebeleland and Midlands areas of Zimbabwe in the early 1980s to quell dissident threats, an operation that resulted in well-documented atrocities.
“I was not treated fairly and justly in Zimbabwe. I was born during the times of political problems in Zimbabwe and when I saw some people escaping to Botswana, I also joined them. I loved my child who passed away very much,” Ncube said.
“I have even named my daughter after my mother. I loved her very much like [I did] my mother. Her Motswana mother is not working. The deceased and his brothers used to help me with some chores where I was working when this tragic accident happened. I want the court to consider that,” he continued.
Magistrate Buang then acceded to the application of the remand of the accused in custody until October 15 for facts reading in connection to the charge of entering Botswana illegally.