Francistown High Court Judge Moses Chinhengo on Tuesday sentenced a 33-year-old man of Sebina Village to 13 years in prison for brutally stabbing his spouse to death with a knife.
Mogogi Mmereki was charged with murdering Franscinah Mabeka, his spouse of 15 years, after a misunderstanding between the two in October 2007.
The facts that were presented before the court revealed that during the same month of October, the two had another misunderstanding, after which the accused sought advice from the District Commissioner, whereupon he was told that he could not be assisted as the District Commissioner only assists married couples.
It also emerged that the accused also approached one Fumani, a cousin to the deceased, to try and solve the matter, but to no avail.
The accused then went to the deceased house in Tonota to try and resolve their problems with her. But the deceased, Mabeka, who was reportedly in an aggressive mood, put the accused’s clothes in a plastic bag and demanded that he leave her house. Mogogi Mmereki left the house that night, and sought refuge from one of the villagers as it was already dark.
The following morning he went back to once again try and plead with the deceased. But the deceased would not budge, as she handed him his savings bank book and once again told him that she no longer needed him in her life as she had found another lover.
The accused then took an Okapi knife from the cupboard and stabbed the deceased various times. She was rushed to Nyangabwe Hospital in Francistown where she was certified dead on arrival.
During submissions, state prosecutor Moffat Dick said that the accused had premeditated the murder as he had stabbed the deceased numerous times. He also said that the accused wanted the deceased to die without help from her neighbours as he locked the deceased into her house after stabbing her.
“Clearly, he did not want the deceased to get help from her neighbours. This further aggravates the offense and shows that he had intentions to kill her,” he said.
Defense counsel Keitshekile Sechele, on the other hand, argued that the accused acted with no malicious intentions to kill, as he was provoked by the deceased.
“The accused was provoked by the deceased, and this is an extenuating circumstance. The court should consider the fact that the deceased and the accused had been in a 15-year relationship, which bore them 4 children. And then all of a sudden the deceased confesses to another relationship and chases him off her home,” said Sechele.
The defense counsel said that the deceased’s actions provoked the accused to act, as he was in an unbalanced state of mind, eventually leading to such a horrific incident.
Giving sentence Justice Chinhengo said that although provocation acted as an extenuating factor in the matter, the action of killing was disproportionate. He added that the act of locking the deceased in the house after stabbing her several times could be perceived as an aggravating factor.
Chinhengo also said that it is common that passion killings in the country are a concern. He added that society looks up to the rule of law to bring in justice and to curb such evils from happening, adding that the court can only achieve that through stern measures.
“I am satisfied that there are extenuating factors in the case, the accused did not premeditate the offence, he pleaded guilty to the offence thereby saving the court’s time, and he has children,” Justice Chinhengo said.
He, however, maintained that there is a need for such offenders to be punished to curb potential criminals from following suit.
The accused will serve 13 years in prison. One year and two months were set aside for the time he was incarcerated before trial.