The family of a passion-killing victim has reacted with anger after the Francistown High Court convicted her killer to 13 years in prison last week. 20-year-old Kedibonye Ngwako was stabbed to death in front of shocked police inside the charge office of the Francistown Central Police station where she had gone to report her former lover.
As her killer, motor mechanic Mothusi Phaladi, 22, was led away to begin his sentence, relatives gathered outside court to express concern over the leniency of the judgment.
Shaking his head in disbelief, the victim’s father Pheaga Ngwako, said he was deeply disturbed with the judgment, which he described as “totally unfair.”
Kedibonye’s brother Emmanuel Ngwako, added: “How can the judge show leniency when the killer showed no mercy? The defence council said that Mothusi was young and could still be absorbed back into the community, and be useful to the country. But what about my sister – how can she be absorbed back into the community? She was doing finance and Marketing at college and we were expecting more from her.
“If people who commit murder are going to be charged as if it was a case of manslaughter, passion killing is not going to end.
“When Mothusi was out on bail for 9 months, he used to pass by our yard at Phikwe, and it was really painful to see him alive while my sister was underground. There were times I felt like getting in my car and running him over, but I was able to restrain myself,” he said.
Angry Catherine Ngwako Olopeng, the victim’s elder sister said: “He should have hung. Mothusi killed my sister in cold blood – he followed her and was determined to kill her, even doing so in front of the police.
“People are not safe, who will protect us if someone can be killed inside police premises. This case should have set an example so that others would think twice before doing this kind of thing.”
Earlier the court had heard how in November 2007 Phaladi had journeyed from Selebi-Phikwe to visit Kedibonye in Francistown.
They had agreed to meet at the taxi rank, but when she did not turn up, he had become angry when her phone was answered by a male voice, who said that he should not call the number again.
Phaladi then went to the Kedibonye’s house at Monarch, but there was no one at home, and no answer from her phone.
After that he spent several hours drinking in a local bar, before returning to the house to wait for Kedibonye, sleeping on the veranda. The following morning he was awoken by a neighbour, Levy Badubi who shared the same yard, and described Phaladi as angry and aggressive and still holding two bottles of beer.
Badubi phoned Kedibonye and told how she had gone with a cousin in his car to fetch her. When they arrived back at the yard, Kedibonye at first got out, but when she saw the state Phaladi was in, she quickly got back in despite his attempts to stop the speeding car.
Giving evidence Badubi told how Phaladi then stopped a taxi and followed them to the Central Police Station. Whilst they were inside the Community Service Centre awaiting attention, Phaladi burst in and grabbed hold of Kedibonye, stabbing her several times in the neck.
She was rushed to Nyangabgwe Hospital, but was confirmed dead upon arrival.