- Witnesses testify in favour of their compatriots
- Namibian police officer says he was locked out of post-mortem examinations
- Prosecution increases witnesses to 35
The ongoing inquest to determine whether anyone can be held responsible for the deaths of three Namibians and their Zambian cousin who were fatally shot by a patrol unit of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) in November last year seems to be turning into a contest of patriotism as witnesses testify in favour of their compatriots.
As may be expected in an inquest, there are contradictions and the prosecution is finding itself in a dilemma but has since decided to call more witnesses.
This week, Assistant Director of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Thato Dibeela, informed the inquiry that they intend to call a further 13 witnesses, increasing the total to 35. The prosecution was initially going to call 22 witnesses when the matter was registered with the Kasane Magistrates’ Court on September 22.
Again last week, a Namibian police officer, Detective Patrick Mafwila, told the court that he was excluded from crucial parts of his work by Botswana authorities during postmortem examinations on the bodies of the dead men in Francistown.
He said despite carrying his camera to Francistown for the purpose, he was not allowed to take photographs while his Botswana counterpart, Inspector Michael Jesaya, was given access to take photographs of the deceased.
Another witness, a Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) regional officer Matshelo Makhondo, said the Namibians were in Botswana illegally and were conducting illegal business.
Makhondo said Fish Protection Regulations of 2008 outlawed fishing activities in national parks and game reserves, as well as people entering parks and game reserves at the time that the deceased were inside Chobe National Park.
The Chobe River forms part of the boundary of the Chobe National Park. It is expected that the inquest will be completed this week.