Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Death row inmate appeals conviction and sentence

A self-proclaimed traditional healer, Buang Makwati, who was convicted and sentenced to death for a single count of murder last year in December by Francistown High Court Judge Mpaphi Phumaphi, has served a notice of appeal against his conviction and sentence before the Court of Appeal.

 Makwati was condemned to death for the November 8, 2007 murder of Kediapare  Kelopang in  Selibe-Phikwe. He was initially charged alongside one David Maphane who later turned state witness after the prosecution withdrew charges against him and called him as an accomplice witness.

According to the evidence before court, on the 7th of August in 2007, Makwati with his accomplice went to Kelopang’s place in Mphakenoko location in Selibe Phikwe where he administered some traditional medicine to Kelopang, who had required her services. After drinking the concoction, she complained of dizziness and said that she was not feeling well.

Makwati is alleged to have gone out of the house where he took a metal pipe and hit the deceased on the head. He then fled the scene of crime with his accomplice and headed for Bobonong where police arrested him the following day after they were tipped off by the public.

A steel pipe was then recovered from the back of Kelopang’s house and was found to have her DNA, suggesting that the pipe was used to inflict the injuries to the back of her head.

Makwati pleaded not guilty to the charge, saying that he only offered traditional medicine to the deceased as she had requested for his services as a traditional doctor.

However, Justice Phumaphi convicted and sentenced Makwati after finding out that there were no extenuating circumstances in the case. She rejected his evidence, holding it as an “obvious lie” which could not be relied upon.

The Judge ┬ásaid that the compelling evidence against Makwati was the one given by the police detective who told court that when Makwati was brought to Selibe Phikwe to be interviewed, he led them to Kelopang’s home where he pointed out to a metal pipe behind the house which was later found to have the deceased’s DNA.

 His lawyer, Mishingo Jeremia, argues in the notice of appeal that the conviction of his client cannot be supported with regard to the evidence given during trial. He says that the evidence was not sufficient and reliable as to convict his client.

“The court erred in convicting the appellant on the basis that he pointed out to a steel pipe which was used to kill the deceased when the evidence available did not at all support the finding,” he says.

He further seeks the Court of Appeal to release his client from prison so that he should be present at the hearing of his appeal as he (Makwati) does not want his fate to be decided in his absence.

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