Murderer sentenced to death row


FRANCISTOWN: A jealous man who could not fathom the fact that his ex-girlfriend was no longer in love with him was sentenced to death Thursday for her murder.

The accused, Moses Kanika, was sentenced to death for murdering Wanani Tafila on January 16, 2016 in Selibe-Phikwe.

When giving ruling on extenuation and sentence, Justice Lot Moroka said that according to evidence given in court by Tafila’s landlord, the relationship between Kanika and Tafila was far from rosy as the deceased always complained of the emotional and physical abuse that she endured from the accused.

“...The deceased ended up ending her love affair with the accused in the presence of the accused and deceased’s parents and her landlord in November 2015. Despite the argument to the contrary by the accused, the relationship had ended and this is attested to by amongst others, the accused’s cousin who said that following the death of deceased, the accused called her (cousin) telling her that he had stabbed the deceased with a knife because she was no longer in love with him. The cousin testified that the accused told her that he did not know whether the deceased was alive or dead,” said Moroka.

The accused, Moroka went on, pleaded with his cousin to call the deceased to ascertain whether she was still alive or dead.

“The cousin also testified that the accused said that he stabbed the deceased because she had ended their love relationship... This is unfortunately a patriarchal element that has taken route in Botswana and is a constant fear in homicide cases that are popularly known as ‘passion killings’ in the country. The countless cases pending before our courts and those that have been concluded show that women live in fear to end love relationships because of the spectre of death that is looming should they take that route. Men do as they please and abuse women because they know that women will have no way to go,” Moroka continued.

The judge added: “The deceased is unfortunately part of the statistics of women who were killed by men in Botswana. On the morning of January 16, 2016, the accused boarded a taxi and went to the deceased’s place of abode. Upon arrival at the deceased’s residence, he met an acquaintance and they shared a cigarette. The accused then entered the house where his ex-girlfriend was living wherein he stabbed her with a knife.”

The autopsy, Moroka noted, shows that the accused stabbed the deceased 12 times on the chest and breast amongst other parts.

“In his evidence at trial, the accused told the court that the love affair between him and the deceased had mended during the festive season in 2015. This was debunked by evidence that is noted in my main judgement and I rejected it as false. The accused said three untruthful things. Firstly, he said that he and the deceased had mended their love relationship, secondly, he said that during the day he murdered the deceased, he saw a man leaving the room of the deceased and lastly, he lied by saying that the deceased attacked him with a knife,” Moroka clarified.

The judge said that in his submission on extenuation, the accused’s attorney, Reneetswe Rabosotho, mentioned intoxication and provocation as extenuating factors.

“...The evidence of extenuation should not be based on speculation but on concrete evidence that was placed before court...I had rejected as false the submission that the accused found a man coming out of the deceased’s house. Even if he did, they were no longer in love and he (accused) had no business interfering in her life. Let me now address the issue of infidelity. A love affair is a social contract in terms of which the two parties ought to take care of the mutual interest of each other. Where along the way, the other sees the relationship as no longer been useful, they should be free to leave the relationship without the fear of death,” Moroka explained.

Moroka continued: “Therefore any suggestion that the presence of another man should be viewed as an extenuating circumstance is out rightly rejected...The law should not reinforce that culture and certainly this court will not entertain that.”

Touching on the issue of intoxication, Moroka said that Kanika’s attorney submitted that Kanika had drank a lot of Black Labels for a considerable period of time prior to the day he murdered Tafila.

“There is a growing misconception in this jurisdiction particularly by defence attorneys that intoxication will always be held as an extenuating circumstance. This also extends to accused persons. On the day in question, the accused met an acquaintance and shared a cigarette with him before he entered the deceased’s house wherein he eventually stabbed her. When he eventually left the house with blood dripping from his hands, he met two people staying in the same yard with the deceased. He showed no signs of intoxication. When he saw people starting to gather he ran away which shows that he was still in control of his mental faculties,” said Moroka.

Moroka added that evidence shows that Kanika was not drunk and even if he was drunk, he was still in control of his mental faculties...

“I therefore of the considered view that there are no extenuating factors in this matter. The evidence is that the deceased owing to dissatisfaction with the accused because she was subjected to emotional and physical abuse, ended their love relationship on November in 2015. On January 16, 2016, the deceased was preparing to leave for work when the accused purely came to her place with an intention to kill her... The deceased shouted saying ‘please let’s talk and don’t kill me’ whilst the accused was stabbing her. Neighbours heard the deceased screaming but he did not stop to stab her,” said Moroka.

“The excuse that is used by some lovers to kill their partners because they no longer love them must come to an end in this country. From the consequences of the afore going, I find that no extenuating circumstances exist in this matter. I am therefore enjoined to prescribe the following sentence: The accused is sentenced to death. He shall be hanged by the neck until he dies. May the lord have mercy on his soul. He has the right to appeal both his conviction and sentence in six weeks starting from today,” Moroka added.

The deceased’s father, Pelaelo Morotsi, welcomed the sentence.

“This is the sentence that we have been waiting for. The accused should follow my daughter because he brutally murdered her,” said Morotsi with tears welling up in his eyes.

Kanika did not show any emotions after he was sentenced. He even with a smile still managed to greet one and bid farewell him farewell to one of his relatives who was seated in the front row of the public gallery in court before he was quickly whisked away by prison officials.

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