On the morning of February 17, the Botswana Prison Service announced via the Botswana Government Facebook page the execution notice of Joseph Tselayarona. By the same evening, the post had reached 1.1 million people, generating 34,554 reactions, comments and shares.
Of the 18,366 reactions received, 17,053 (92.9%) represented “likes”, 3.6% were “Sad”, while just .2% expressed “Anger” at the announcement, with another 3.2% falling under the “Haha/Wow” category.
Perhaps even more significant is the fact that the post generated 11,309 comments, with 6,946 on the post itself and 4,363 on the shares. The interesting thing is that some comments even came from neighbouring South Africa and Namibia and a few others.
While views in the comments section were mixed, it was abundantly clear that the majority of domestic and regional commentators were in support for the death penalty.
Early on the morning of Saturday 17 February 2018 the execution of the death penalty passed on Joseph Poni Tselayarona (aged 28), of Magokotswane ward in Molepolole, was carried out at Gaborone Central Prison.
The High Court had convicted Tselayarona for the murder of his girlfriend, Ngwanyanaotsile Keikanne and her three-year-old son, Miguel Keikanne in 2010 in Molepolole. He was sentenced 20 years in prison for the murder of his girlfriend and handed a death penalty for the murder of the son. He later appealed the judgment but was dismissed on the 23 November 2017 by the Court of Appeal.
Reactions to the execution notice…
EU Condemns Death Penalty in Botswana following Tselayarona’s Execution
Following the execution, the European Union Delegation issued a statement in agreement with the EU Heads of Mission in Botswana condemning the use of capital punishment, which can never be justified.
The statement highlighted that the death penalty is a cruel and inhumane punishment. It further said there is no evidence that it has a better deterrent effect than imprisonment, and judicial and other errors in its application are irrevocable and irreversible, which is why most of the countries in the world have stopped applying it.
The statement called on Botswana to initiate a public debate on its use of the death penalty, as the government of Botswana has already agreed in the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council.
The public also had something to say about it
As stated at the beginning of this article, Batswana, as well as others from neighbouring countries took to Facebook in their droves to offer their opinion on the matter. Below are some of the comments:
- (In response to the suggestion that offenders could be given a life sentence) – Life sentence??? So they get to eat and be fattened by our taxes?? Hell NO. Let them die!!
- Please don’t tell us how to run our own country…
- And that is why there is so much brutal crime and murder in these 2 countries (Zimbabwe and South Africa) because criminals know there is no death sentence 😡😠
- We don’t have money to waste on feeding murderers who kill a 3-year-old child and then you say we feed him for the rest of his miserable life. No Sir!!
- We don’t want to turn our prisons into feedlots for killers…
As a South African, I can declare most people are tired of the rampant crime. A lot of these prisoners still continue to re-offend in prison. Why keep a person alive if they aren’t rehabilitated? I bet most of us would wish for the death penalty to make a return.
We need that in Lesotho, there’s no respect for humanity here.
- Recycle the rope henchman and hang them!
- Cruel crimes deserve cruel penalties!
- A cheating lady is no justification for murder. If you are not happy with her, then leave her. If you don’t leave her and kill her instead, we hang you. This is how we do it in Botswana. You can preach against capital punishment in Zimbabwe. Not here. You want to offend us.
- An eye for an eye. He killed the woman; her parents grieved and so should his parents. Death sentence aluta continua
- Tselayarona deserved to die. No one wants to die but if you take someone else’s life, your life should be taken as well as you do not deserve to live. GOOD JOB BOTSWANA!!!
- Fair and square…I support the death penalty.
- In South Africa, they would be saying human rights this and that. To hell with human rights groups!
There were, however, a few who disagreed
- The death penalty is not fair, only God has the right to end human life.
- Joseph was still young at the time and couldn’t control his anger. There was no need to hang this guy. How many citizens are spreading AIDS, is that not murder and a waste of the taxpayer’s money?
- #Botswana needs to end this outdated and barbaric act period! #NoToCapitalPunishment
- Hanging is outdated though.
There used to be a time when Batswana would unanimously support capital punishment. However, it seems opinions are slowly changing. What are your thoughts about Botswana’s stance on capital punishment? Please feel free to share your opinion with YourBotswana.
Reference and picture: Botswana Government Facebook page