Wife and son arrested in Mopipi Chief murder case
A dark cloud hangs over the dusty village of Mopipi in Boteti district following the brutal murder of the village chief, Kgosi Kesegofetse Patelelo last week.
Passersby discovered Kgosi Patelelo’s lifeless body lying on the Mopipi/Rakops road in the early hours of the morning on June 29th.
The chief’s wife Seoneni Patelelo (51) and her son, Lethogile Patelelo (34) were immediately arrested and charged with murder.
The two suspects appeared before Letlhakane Court Magistrate, Queen Mwanga, on Tuesday morning where the summary of evidence was read to them.
The state has alleged that on the fateful night, the chief and his wife had a heated argument over a sale of a cow.
Prosecutor Sub Inspector Mpho Basebi stated in court that Seonei accused her husband of selling a cow without her knowledge.
“A fight ensued and she stabbed the chief with a knife on the forehead. He later died from his injuries,” Sub Inspector Basebi said.
Evidence brought before court stated that with the assistance of her son (Lethogile) the chief’s wife loaded the corpse into a car and dumped it by the roadside where it was found.
Basebi prayed that the two be further remanded in custody to protect them from possible attack by angry villagers.
Meanwhile the accused wife had to be stopped dead in her tracks from confessing to the murder in court.
“Your Worship the reason I killed my husband…” said Seonei who was quickly interrupted by the shocked court clerk.
“…sorry madam, we are not there yet. This is not a trial,” interjected the court clerk.
Perhaps unaware of her admission of guilt, Seonei further asked that her son be set free because he had nothing to do with the murder.
While his mother was apologetic and seemed to understand the gravity of the crime, Lethogile demanded his immediate release.
Donning a tattered and torn Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) t-shirt, Letlhogile sighed and smirked in one breath, throwing his arms wildly in his arrogant demand to be let go.
“I didn’t kill my father, my mother did,” he said.
“As the eldest son I have to be out so I can take care of funeral arrangements. I loved my father and I want to make sure he is laid to rest with dignity,” he said.
Asked if he was done with his demands, his response was a curt “Yah, sharp, “a comment, which prompted the annoyed magistrate to rebuke him for his ill manners.
“Ga o na maitseo” (You are ill mannered). You are here accused of murder and you are behaving like a spoilt brat. Get out of my dock,” said the Magistrate as she denied both mother and son bail.”
While the chief’s immediate family said the matter was too sensitive to comment on, a distant relative who knew the slain royal well said the chief and his wife were an estranged couple.
The Voice investigations revealed that on Wednesday, the angry wife had reported to the customary court that her husband was selling their cattle without her consent.
The deputy chief allegedly sent her back and advised that the issue be sorted out at family level but that same night the chief was killed.
The chief’s deputy, Kgosi Matlhare however refused to shed more light on the Wednesday incident.
“All we know is that our chief was murdered and how that happened will be revealed by the police,” said Matlhare.
Kgosi Patalelo’s body is currently lying at Orapa Mine Hospital awaiting postmortem. His wife and son will be back in court sometime next month.