Awitness in the case in which Unangoni Kombani is accused of assaulting a police officer in Monarch location in 2012 shocked court on Friday when he confessed to being a thief. Appearing in Francistown before Magistrate Dumisani Basupi, the witness, Dennis Tabulawa, said the reason he has not been coming to court is that he was not notified of court dates.
Basupi had threatened to jail him for contempt of court until the case is finalised because he is not a reliable person. Tabulwa then got angry. He reiterated that no one had notified him about the court dates. He told Basupi that he has a case in Masunga magistrate court and a personal case in Gaborone that give him sleepless nights. He said he hopes that giving evidence in the current case would be the last time because many of his plans have stopped as a result. In his evidence he said that he was at his tuck-shop in Monarch location where he sells cooked meat when he heard gun shots.
He went outside and saw that the shots were being fired by the police. There were people at the tuck-shop, he said. He said he saw Kombani run away. He did not know why Kombani was running away. He followed the police officers who were shooting. He wanted to ask them why they were shooting in the vicinity of people and secondly, to inform them that they had damaged his tuck-shop as one gunshot had ripped through the wall. On catching up with the police officers, he saw a boy about 15 metres from where the police officers were standing. He said the police shot at him as they were aiming towards Kombani who was running in the direction of the boy.
Kombani then fell down and was arrested. Magistrate Basupi then asked Tabulawa if the police had intentions to shoot the boy, to which he responded, “No.” Tabulawa said he then alerted the police that they had accidentally shot the boy as they did not notice him. He said he went to collect the cartridges that came from the gun. He said he used plastics because he did not want his fingerprints to temper with the evidence as he was going to give them to his lawyer. “Why did you collect them using a plastic and why did you not give them to the police as you had said that they had damaged your tuck-shop?” Basupi asked.
Tabulawa said he lives through stealing from other people and he did not want to hold the cartridges with his hands because the police would have said he was the one who shot his own tuck-shop. He said he once owned a gun which the police confiscated because he was using it for robberies. He confessed that he does not trust the police and he once served 10 years in jail for alleged theft which he did not even commit so he is still very angry about it, hence he is a thief. “I have had run-ins with police officers, especially in Central Police Station, I do not trust them because even if I report to them that my house was broken into, they say how can a thief’s house be broken into?” Tabulawa said.
After Tabulawa had confessed to being a thief, Semakaleng Mazibane, the prosecutor from Central Police Station put it to him that a thief will never tell the truth and that the evidence he gave in court was all fabricated lies to protect Kombani. Mazibane said that she would go with the evidence given by the two innocent boys who were at the scene and testified in court that they saw Kombani assault the police officer.