Francistown High Court Judge, Lot Moroka has expressed concern over the escalating ‘passion killings’ in which women continue to lose their lives at the hands of their lovers.
In a tragic vagaries and vicissitudes of a woman who was held hostage by her illogical love for a man who perennially subjected her to physical and verbal abuse, Mosetsana Tauejele lost her life at the hands of her lover Keorapetse Makhura (38) who stabbed her to death with a knife in broad daylight.
Makhura killed Tauejele in 2013 at Serorome ward in Palapye after he followed her to her parents’ house demanding to take the two children that she bore with him.
When sentencing him, Moroka could not help but express his great concern for the rate at which women are slaughtered as cows at the hands of their lovers. He said that cases of this nature are prevalent in our jurisdictions. “Passion killing is a crime prevalent in the society and it is usually a woman who dies at the hands of their lovers,” Moroka said.
He said that mercy is a major factor considered when sentencing however, judicial punishment must be guided by purpose. “The aim is to deter others from committing the same offence and the accused from repeating the same offence,” the judge said.
He said that the accused is a man in his 30s and that he has no previous convictions. Moroka continued to say that the accused’s attorney, Reneetswe Rabosotho pointed out that he has two children with the deceased and takes care of his mother. However, Moroka highlighted that murder is a serious offence as a life taken is never replaced.
“Accused murdered his girlfriend in daylight in cold blood. The fact that she ran away and sought assistance from elderly neighbours did not deter him instead he followed her and stabbed her in front of people. Evidence presented in court shows that he (accused) stabbed the deceased and her sister at some point with a knife, she reported the matter and later withdrew the matter,” Moroka said.
He said the accused was never trialled as it was withdrawn. He said that he has finally led her to the grave that he had long doted for her. The judge said that judicial systems must be responsive to new changes otherwise the public will lose trust in them. “When this happens the society will take the law into their own hands,” Moroka said. He then sentenced the accused to 20 years which will run from the 1st July 2016 when the accused was incarcerated.
Earlier on in mitigation, Rabosotho had pleaded with the judge to tamper justice with mercy when sentencing his client. He told Moroka that Makhura had lived 38years of his life as a law abiding citizen. “The accused has had no brushes with law, this indicates that the accused is a law abiding citizen,” Rabosotho said. He said Makhura fell off from school at Form 2 and with such a background he did not have necessary intelligence on how to deal with emotional strains he experienced with Tauejele.
He said Makhura is a father to five children who live with his mother. Rabosotho said that provocation by Tauejele and her relatives in refusing to allow Makhura to take his children to his mother fuelled his actions. He said that the matter should be considered as manslaughter instead of murder. Rabosotho said that there is evidence that the accused has caused the murder of his loved one. “Having a loved one die at his hands will always be a mental punishment,” the attorney said pleading the court to backdate the sentence.However, State attorney, Gonayaone Ketlhapetswe disagreed with Rabosotho. He said that Makhura’s actions on that fateful day were intentional. Ketlhapetswe said that when he left his house to Tauejele, Makhura had a knife in his pocket and his mood was justified. He said that was a sign that the Tauejele’s fate was sealed the morning she rose. “The brazen behaviour displayed by the accused when he killed the deceased in broad daylight in the presence of many members of the society who begged him to reconsider his action,shows that accussed is not a candidate for leniency” the attorney said. He said that Makhura is not a candidate for leniency. He said that a lenient sentence will trigger a different message to the society adding that leniency cannot be tolerated in this matter. He also disclosed that Makhura has a history of abuse and that he had occasionally abused Tauejele.