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A father’s hell on earth

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A father's hell on earth
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: Lekopanye

* Loving dad cleared of daughter’s murder breaks the silence

*Witchdoctors implicate relatives

A traumatised father who was suspected to have murdered his daughter to cover up their alleged love affair has spoken out about his living hell and his relief at finally being able to clear his name.

Lekopanye Ditshotlo, 60, was the subject of a humiliating police investigation in Serowe last October when his daughter, Santana Ditsholo, 24, was found hanging from the rafters of the Day Care Centre she managed.

Santana’s death was initially declared a suicide and she was buried soon after.

However, a few days after the funeral, rumours emerged that the suicide was a cover up and Santana had actually been murdered.

Lekopanye became the talk of the village and a target of social media bullying and hatred as vicious rumours pointed at him as the prime suspect.

It was alleged that he had been sexually abusing his daughter, even siring children with her and eventually killing her when she threatened to spill the beans.

In an incident that shocked Newton Ward residents, Santana’s body was exhumed to be examined by a pathologist.

Meanwhile, Lekopanye, a former Botswana Defence Force (BDF) employee, was brought in for questioning.

Although he maintained his innocence throughout and was released by the police without charge or even spending a night in jail, Lekopanye became a subject of ridicule in Serowe.

He was condemned on social media by the masses, many condemning him as guilty despite not knowing any of the facts.

He was labelled a pervert and a murderer and shunned by the community.

I DID NOT KILL MY DAUGHTER

However, after living as an outcast for the last seven months, Lekopanye finally mustered the courage to set the record straight this week.

Armed with postmortem and paternity results, Lekopanye proclaimed his innocence in an exclusive, extremely emotional interview with The Voice on Wednesday.

The postmoterm examination results from Dr. Enock Prabhakar, a consultant forensic pathologist, state that Santana’s death was due to ‘compression of the neck’.

On the DNA tests conducted on the deceased’s two children to establish who their father was, a Botswana Police Forensic Scientist concluded that Lekopanye was not the dad.

Furthermore, genital swabs taken from the deceased found no traces of male DNA.

“This matter has been hanging over my head for quite some time. I was living like a prisoner in my own village because of unfounded accusations from evil people,” the shaken grandfather told The Voice, adding he only survived due to support he received from his wife and children who never believed the accusations levelled against him.

“To be accused of murder is the worst thing ever. I had sleepless nights thinking about life behind bars. I constantly thought about being executed for something I did not do,” continued Lekopanye grimly, his voice shaking with fierce emotion.

The former army employee revealed that, together with his Zimbabwean wife, he consulted traditional doctors who implicated their close relatives in their daughter’s suicide.

He said his daughter was collateral damage in a vicious ‘muti’ war between feuding members of his extended family.

Lekopanye explained he used to run a Day Care Centre in Serowe with his wife, where most of his relatives’ kids had been schooling for free.

“However after my daughter got a qualification in Early Childhood she took over the running of the school and one of her first decisions was that every kid should pay, including family.

“That did not go well with a lot of the scholarship beneficiaries and my daughter hanged herself inside a business she loved,” he reflected sombrely, adding he suspects she was bewitched.

His loyal wife, Mpesi Ditshotlo said she never doubted her husband’s innocence even when his relatives vilified him.

“It was just a ploy to put a rift between us, but we are stronger than ever before,” she said, casting an adoring look at her man.

“His family has never accepted me as his wife and they thought if they accused him of such a hideous act I’d pack up and leave. His kids know, even his sisters and brothers-in-law never doubted his innocence because they know the kind of man he is,” she continued.

“We are just happy that this matter is now behind us. We want to move on with our lives and focus on taking care of Santana’s two kids,” Mpesi added.

“Finally our daughter can rest in peace.”