BOTSWANA: MEN ON DEATH ROW 10 YEARS AFTER BEING ARRESTED
January 18, 2010: ten years after first being arrested in connection with the murder of two Zimbabwean men, and three years after being convicted and sentenced to death by Lobatse High Court judge Maruping Dibotelo, Botswana citizen Brandon Sampson and South African Michael Molefe are still languishing in jail, with no dates set for their appeal to be heard. The two have been on the death row longer than any of Botswanaâ€™s four death row inmates.
Some who were convicted after them have already had their appeals heard while others have been executed.
Modise Fly Mokwadi, who was sentenced to death much later than the two, is presently awaiting the outcome of his appeal at the end of this month. He was found guilty of murdering his son.
Zimbabwean national Gerald Dube was executed in December last year after he was found guilty of murdering his lawyer cousin, her two children and their maid.
Sampson and Molefe have been convicted of murdering the Zimbabweans after an illegal money deal went sour. Molefeâ€™s case got vast media coverage from his country of origin, South Africa, which has long abolished the death penalty.
The other death row inmates in Botswana are Benson Keganne, who was sentenced to death for the murder of Pitsane woman Gloria Mahowe, and the duo of Raymond Leshomo and Arnold Masango, who were sent to the gallows for the murder of fellow mine worker Mark Lottering in Francistown.
Keganneâ€™s appeal was postponed to the next session of the court of appeal after his attorney Joar Salbany told the Court that he only received his record in December and was not yet prepared for the appeal.
Botswana has executed 43 people since Independence in 1966. (Sources: Sunday Standard, 18/01/2010)