Convicted murderers, Zimbabwean Gerald Dube and Botswana citizen Loeto Baitsholedi, two of the six death row convicts, will early next year make a last bid effort to dodge a date with the hangman during the Court of Appeal session scheduled to start on January 7, 2009.
Three years ago, Dube was sentenced to death by a Francistown High Court judge for the murder of his cousin Patricia Majoko, then a practicing lawyer in Francistown, and her two children and their maid, all Zimbabweans.
Baitsholedi, on the other hand, was sentenced to hang for having shot dead a farmer in Ngamiland after he had borrowed his gun on the pretext that he was going to look for his donkeys in the bushes. Baitsholedi maintains that he had put the gun where he was supposed to put it upon return from searching for donkeys and that he had nothing to do with the gun owner’s death.
If they lose their appeals, they are certain to hang as President Ian Khama recently told a kgotla meeting in Palapye that he strongly believes in the death penalty.
Since coming into power in April this year, Khama has already sanctioned the execution of one condemned prisoner who was sentenced to death for having killed his own daughter.
Four death row prisoners, who are still to appeal their convictions, are Branson Sampson, who was convicted of killing a Zimbabwean citizen, Benson Keganne, convicted of killing a Motswana woman, Fly, convicted of killing his child and South African Mike Molefe who was convicted of killing a Zimbabwean.
There will also be several appeals against lengthy sentences by convicts sentenced for serious crimes such as armed robberies, murder and rape. In one of such cases, Phemelo Patelelo is appealing against an 11-year and a 9-year sentence for murder and armed robbery, which the Court ordered to run concurrently.
Nkaelang Ditshupo, Omphemetse Galetlhaole and Moagi Mochai are each appealing against 15-year-jail terms passed on each of them for rape, whilst Kazentundu Hiyumuntana is appealing against 12 years’ jail term for rape.
Tshireletso Gonoga is appealing an 11-year jail sentence for manslaughter while Joseph Ntutwane Mooketso is appealing against seven years’ imprisonment which is runs consecutively to the 15 years’ jail term he is already serving.
On the civil front, there will be a case in which Moji Maphanyane is challenging the decision of the Director of Department of Health Manpower, Ministry of health’s Training Board and the Attorney General of Botswana for the termination of her scholarship.
And, of course, in the case that refuses to go away, the Directorate of Public Prosecution is appealing against a judgment recently passed by Lobatse High Court judge Unity Dow dismissing an application by DPP asking for orders that the Daisy Loo company should not be given money it had claimed from the Gaborone City Council for work it claimed it had carried out on behalf of the Council as the money was an exhibit in the ongoing criminal case against the company and some employees of the Council.
The Botswana Mine Workers Union will appeal against the decision of an Industrial Court judge who dismissed their case for the unfair dismissal of 461 of their members on grounds that their case had been filed out of time.