Zimbabwean Ambassador to Botswana, Thomas Mandigora, has refused to comment on whether his government will intervene on behalf of their citizen in a case in which Gerald Dube was sentenced to death a month ago for having killed four fellow Zimbabweans in Francistown.
All our attempts to get him to say whether or not they would approach the Botswana government on the matter were not successful as every time The Sunday Standard called the embassy, his secretary told us that “his Excellency was too busy to comment on the case”. This has happened over the past four weeks now.
The Sunday Standard wanted to establish whether Zimbabwe will ask Botswana to spare the life of their citizen and commute his sentence to a life sentence instead.
Dube, currently on death row with another convicted murderer, Sepeni Popo, is alleged to have killed Patricia Majoko, her two children, Amotjilani and Dumisani, as well as their maid, Lindiwe Ncube, in 2001. All the deceased were Zimbabweans residing in Botswana where Patricia was a practicing lawyer.
Dube is expected to appear for an appeal hearing on a date still to be set. If his appeal fails and he is executed, he will be the third foreigner to be executed in Botswana in recent years.
The other two were Marietta Bosch, a South African citizen who was executed for having murdered another woman and Lehlohonolo Kobedi, a Lesotho citizen who was executed for having murdered a police officer during an armed robbery which went wrong.
Besides Dube, there are about seven other Zimbabweans facing murder charges in the country. Four of them are facing charges of having murdered a woman on the Orapa Francistown road after allegedly causing a puncture on her tyre. The four were then arrested near the scene by police officers who were on patrol. Three others, including a woman, are alleged to have murdered an Indian businessman who was preparing to go home and stole his money. All of them have since appeared for mention in local Courts. Besides them, there are ten other Zimbabweans in the country already serving various jail terms or awaiting trial for serious crimes, such as armed robbery, around the country.
Some Zimbabweans feel those involved in crime deserve to be punished like it is the case everywhere, including in Zimbabwe.
“Criminals, whatever their nationalities, need to be punished.
Killers, if proven guilty, need to be hanged. It is the practice even back home in Zimbabwe,” said Elias Goche, who is currently job hunting in Botswana. According to him, it is such criminal elements who make everybody, even law abiding people like him and others, a bit unwelcome in this country.
The government of Botswana has, since independence in 1966, executed over 40 people. This is so despite condemnations by human rights groups in the country, amongst them Ditshwanelo, which maintain that no one has a right to kill.