FRANCISTOWN: The gory details of how a man who is facing a slew of charges committed them continued to unfold at the High Court this week.
The accused, Gobuamang Ntsuape, is facing one count of murder, five counts of attempted murder and two counts of arson.
The incidents allegedly happened at Block 9 location in Francistown at the home of the parents of Ntsuape’s ex-girlfriend, Dorcas Kgosietsile, on September 13, 2016.
Ntsuape allegedly went berserk after Dorcas, with whom he shared a child, ended their relationship.
Narrating how the alleged gut wrenching events unfolded, Dorcas said that at around 11.50pm on September 13, 2016, she was sleeping in the study room at her parents’ home.
Dorcas explained that she was sleeping in the study room because that was during her tertiary education days at the University of Botswana.
She further explained that her parents’ compound is made up of the main house and small house, which is comprised of a two-bedroomed house and a study room.“My father (Chief Kgosietsile), mother (Sadi Kgosietsile), younger sibling and my two children were sleeping in the main house… In my room at the small house, there is a landline telephone. Just close to midnight, I heard the telephone ringing for a period of about 10 minutes. I ignored it. After the phone rang, I received a call from Ntsuape on my cellular phone.
The first words he uttered were, ‘Come out of the house and let’s talk. Even if you call the cops, your time is over’. I could hear that it was Ntsuape’s voice since he was speaking from within my parents’ yard near where I was sleeping,” Dorcas recounted.
Dorcas added that after Ntsuape stopped calling her, she called her mother at the main house and informed her what Ntsuape said.
“Thereafter, I heard that the door of the study room I was sleeping in was being kicked. I stayed in the bed for about five minutes and then heard my father screaming asking where I was.
While still screaming, my father was saying that the main house that the children were sleeping in was burning. I knew that it was the accused who dialed my mobile phone because I knew his number.
When I got out of the study room, I saw my mother trying to open the main gate of the compound. After I went out of the study room, I saw fire burning a net that was near the main house,” said Dorcas wiping tears that were streaming down her cheeks.
After partially regaining composure but still trying to contain her tears, Dorcas said that she also discovered that her car and her father’s car were also burning.
“I went inside the main house to the bedroom where my two children and younger brother were sleeping. Two of the children were screaming while one was deep asleep while the house was burning… As I reached the door of the living room, I saw my father trying to locate the handle of door of the living room but he did not locate it… we were choking from fumes… my father and neighbours then tried to break the window burglar bars of the house but they were not successful,” said Dorcas.
She said that using a little bit of strength that she regained after falling in the living room due to choking from the fumes, she went to the bedroom where the children were sleeping and decided to break the window with her hand.
She added that she managed to break-open the window but got injured in the hand in the process.
“…I managed to take the children outside the burning house through the broken window while finally, the neighbours also managed to break the burglar bars…. The whole family was taken to hospital for medical attention…. While I was still hospitalised at Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital next to my mother, she told me that Ntsuape splashed her with petrol and then lit her. My mother passed away later but sadly, my father did not attend her funeral since he was still hospitalised,” Dorcas said, under direct examination from State counsel, Carlos Diwundu.
During cross-examination, defence counsel Charles Tlagae tried to punch holes into Dorcas’s testimonies in her police report and in court.
Tlagae said that there were a lot of discrepancies between what Dorcas told the police while the incidents were still fresh in her mind and what she said in her viva voce evidence.
Tlagae implored the court not to allow Dorcas’s assertion that her mother told her that Ntsuape was the person who poured with petrol on her, which led to her death.
He said that according to law, Dorcas’s evidence was inadmissible because she was obliged to state what she saw and not what she heard from other people.
When Tlagae told Dorcas that he put it to her that Ntsuape never threatened to kill if she ended their romance, Dorcas replied: “He said that and at one point he even said he will bury me alive”.
Tlagae then told Dorcas that the reason why she did not formally lay a complaint to the police despite the seriousness of the alleged threat was that she just wanted to make the accused look like a violent person while he was not.
In reply, Dorcas stuck to her guns saying that Ntsuape told her that he would kill her when she ended their relationship.
When giving her evidence in court earlier, Dorcas said that in 2014 Ntsuape bought her a cellphone but wanted to control it.
This, Dorcas explained, was during the time when she was still working and staying in Francistown while Ntsuape was residing in Gaborone.
Tlagae then asked Dorcas how possible it was that someone living more than 400 kilometres away from Francistown would control a cellphone in Francistown.
He added that the same assertion was not recorded in Dorcas’ police statement, which he said clearly showed that Dorcas was having an agenda of portraying Ntsuape as a bad person.
In response, Dorcas said: “I did not know if I should have elaborated on the issue of the cellphone in my police statement. I thought that all I wrote in my police statement was enough”.
Quizzed further by Tlagae why the accused did not take the cellphone while she went to work, Dorcas replied: “He did not take the cellphone because he did not spend too much time in Francistown…. He only wanted to control it and know who was calling me while he was briefly in Francistown.”
Probed further by Tlagae if Ntsuape had a problem if males called her on the cellphone, Dorcas responded: “Where I work at Botswana Savings Bank, a lot of people call me including males asking about work-related issues.
I was also called by landlords on the cellphone who included males since I wanted to move out from my parents’ place to rent my own place. This did not go down well with the accused”.
When this publication left the High Court on Wednesday, Dorcas was still giving evidence before Justice Lot Moroka. In a separate trial, Ntsuape is also facing two counts of manslaughter and one count of disabling in order to commit an offence.
He allegedly committed the offences on December 1, 2016 by wrestling for the steering wheel of the car that was used by a prison official to transport prisoners to a prison facility at Gerald Estates.
The State alleges that the driver lost control of the car and in the process it overturned.