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CoA upholds Mujanji death sentence

27 Apr 2023

Atholang Mujanji’s last attempt to evade capital punishment hit a snag, Wednesday as the Court of Appeal (CoA) confirmed the death sentence imposed on him.

Mujanji was sentenced to death by Justice Lot Moroka of Francistown High Court in 2021 for the 2014 murder of Bakani Socks after the court found that there were no extenuating circumstances in the matter.

The convict subsequently appealed Justice Moroka’s ruling, arguing that the court erred in its conclusion.

However, when delivering the CoA verdict, Justice Singh Walia who concurred with Justices Isaac Lesetedi and Goemekgabo Tebogo-Maruping said the appeal was without merit.

“The court a quo cannot be faulted for finding that there were no extenuating circumstances and sentencing the appellant to the only permissible sentence in the circumstances,” Justice Walia said.

He said gravitating factors on the matter were obvious, adding that Mujanji deceived Socks, who worked as a nurse a Nyangabwe Referral Hospital into going for a drive in a secluded area, took her life in a brutal attack, tried to set her alight and left her at the mercy of the elements and scavenging animals.

The CoA also quashed the appellant’s extenuating circumstances argument of absence of pre-mediation, amorous relationship, the effect of the relevance of pregnancy, emotional stress and drug abuse that he had presented before the trial court.

Justice Walia said the High Court judge dealt at length with each argument on extenuating circumstances placed before him and considered it fully and came to the conclusion that no extenuating circumstances existed.

He added that the relationship between Mujanji and the deceased had on accepted evidence ended in 2013 and added that the convict had moved on with a new girlfriend.

“He had been using her car and married her not long after the deceased death. There is nothing to suggest that he had any intention of leaving his wife to be and resuming a relationship with the deceased”.

According to the evidence before the court, Mujanji confessed to the killing of Socks before a pastor, who recorded the confession.

The court records stated that the convict told the pastor that he met the deceased at Galo Mall on a fateful day and the two sat in the car, after some time he went to Nandos to buy food and came back with a receipt.

After some minutes, he gave the deceased receipt to collect the meal because he did not want to be seen with the deceased and the duo subsequently drove along Matsiloje road and parked in a bush after Donga BDF camp to enjoy the meal.

Mujanji told the pastor that he had an open knife under the seat and he later asked the deceased to alight from the car for a walk and took a knife to stab her on the back but missed and instead stabbed the cheek.

After the deceased tried to run, he caught her and strangled her and smashed her head with a stone.   Mujanji had further explained to the pastor that he did such because the deceased told him he was pregnant by another man and had refused to have a child with him.

Mujanji was represented by Mr Kgololesego Segabo while the state was represented by Mr Moagi Ndlovu. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Bonang Masolotate

Location : GABORONE

Event : Court

Date : 27 Apr 2023