*Televised suspected thief targets Thamage
*Journalist lays a threat to kill charge
Celebrity Journalist, Onkutlwile Thamage who has become famous for parading petty criminals and marijuana busts on Botswana Television (BTV) has reported a threat to kill charge to the police.
Thamage says he is living in fear after receiving threats from a suspected thief employed as a BTV driver, whom he once paraded on TV during a police raid.
On January 25th Thamage showed the driver, Pule Lekang, 42, on headline news with his co- accused, Vivian Demba and Jason Sejeso charged with a series of house-break-in and stealing offences.
The trio was allegedly found in possession of many stolen household goods at Lekang’s house in Tsholofelo, Gaborone.
Lekang was previously accused of stealing car tyres; fuel, batteries and air conditioners at Mass Media Complex and the stolen goods were allegedly found in his house during the police raid, which was reported on the news.
He was detained for six days but released to go back to work where he allegedly told some of his work mates that he was planning to hire hit men to kill Thamage for exposing him on to the public.
He allegedly uttered the words , “yo go tweng Onkutwile ene ke tla mo hirila batho gore ba mmolae, o tsaya kae sebete sa go ntsha mo dikgannyeng.” (I will hire hitmen to kill Onkutlwile, where does he get the guts to parade me on television news?’
Speaking in an interview, Thamage said at first he did not take the threats seriously until he noticed there was a suspicious car tailing him after work on his way home. He said the car had different registration number plates for the front and back.
“I asked someone at the Department of Transport to criminal record check names of the owner for me and he said one of the numbers came up as a motorbike registration number. Some of my work mates who are also witnesses on this case kept on telling me to watch my back as Lekang continued to make some more threats. I don’t understand why I am being targeted because for a story to be aired it has to go through the editor and I was just doing my job,” lamented Thamage
When contacted for a comment Lekang denied making the threats and expressed surprise at the phone call from Gwest police interrogating him about threat to kill charges.
“I approached Head of News Edson Malebane about the story and asked him while we were at it about when he was going to air the story of Thamage being investigated by DCEC for allegedly using fake journalism certificates. A lot of people are jealous of me because I am a mere driver but I have more than 100 cattle and I have built a big house at Tsholofelo so they conclude that I must have acquired all these by stealing,” said Lekang.
Asked about the alleged fake journalism certificates case raised by Lekang, Malepa said, “ He is lying, he is trying to divert attention from his criminal behavior.”
Gaborone West Police investigating Officer, Assistant Superintendent Tlotlanang Mogwasa confirmed that Thamage has opened a threat to kill case against Lekang.
“ We are still investigating. So far we have recorded statements from witnesses.