FRANCISTOWN: Octogenarian Petros Ranko Ramaditse shuffled painfully into the dock on Friday to answer a charge of possession of elephant tusks worth P58,000.
Apparently, the arthritic legs of the 84-year-old could not allow him to stand for long and he had to request, in an inaudible voice, to be given permission to sit down. Ramaditse was allegedly caught with the trophies in December 2008. Twice he was asked whether he pleaded guilty to the charge and as he seemed hard of hearing, he replied by saying "Haa?". The court clerk had to shout the question again and he eventually said: "I plead not guilty". He was then asked to come on March 19 and bring a lawyer for the commencement of the trial.
Meanwhile before magistrate Mokwadi Chris Gabanagae, Mabati Molaodi of Lephaneng ward in Tonota faced two charges of burning down a house belonging to Rebecca Monei and stealing P2,300. A herd-boy, Modisa Ongadile, 28 of Nchingani cattlepost faced a single count of unlawful wounding. He was accused of wounding one Baboni Mokalake at Mabesekwa in December 2008. He said he cannot afford a lawyer even if he wanted one. Looking lost as he gingerly stepped out of the dock, Ongadile mumbled that he stayed far away after being advised to appear again on March 17.A person with questionable mental health also came before Gabanagae. The Matshelagabedi man, dressed in a shirt that looked like it had been sprinkled with slimy egg yolk did not wait to be asked to plead. In the dock, where suspects stand with such trepidation, he said he did not know why he was there in the first place because he is a soldier. "Can't you see the uniform I am wearing.
I am a soldier at Sir Seretse Khama Barracks in Mogoditshane. I have no case here. I was instructed by all the chiefs (Dikgosi) to kill that person," he said to the amusement of those in the gallery. At one point, he turned to face the man who was sitting directly behind him in the gallery: "Ke a bua o a tshega. Le a ntlwaela ke a bona (I am so serious yet you are laughing. I can see. You have little regard for me)." When advised to come on March 12 for the continuation of his case, he quipped as he stalked off the dock: "Coming to do what?"