A Zimbabwean woman, who has been languishing in a Botswana remand prison since March last year, was last Wednesday spared a custodial sentence after Lobatse High Court judge Justice Gaongalelwe slapped her with a 30-month suspended sentence for killing her boyfriend, Innocent Magwenzi.
Rudo Masarakufa (29) who has a nine-month-old baby, appeared before Lobatse High Court last Wednesday facing a charge of killing Magwenzi, following a domestic dispute.
She was being represented by lawyer Thurai-yaa Mooketsi.
Justice Gaongalelwe sentenced her to 30 months in jail. However, 18 months were wholly suspended on condition she had overstayed in remand prison.
The remaining 12 months were also suspended for three years on condition of good behaviour.
The judge also considered the plea on her behalf by her lawyer who told the court the murder charge was too harsh for Masarakufa as she had killed her boyfriend in the heat of passion.
She said there was no direct or circumstantial evidence the accused had planned to kill her boyfriend and that when she went to see him about the pregnancy, she was not armed with any weapon.
Giving her evidence in court, Masarakufa said when she fell pregnant with Magwenzi’s child in February last year, their relationship became sour as he had found another girlfriend.
She said he also told her to terminate the pregnancy and never to visit him again at his apartment in Phakalane. It was at that moment, Masarakufa said, she observed Magwenzi was angry and was getting closer to her.
“I noticed that he had a knife in his pocket and I became irritated and grabbed the knife and stabbed him. The intention was not to kill him, but rather to make him feel the pain I was feeling from the statements he had uttered,” Masarakufa told the court.
Witnesses who included Magwenzi’s new girlfriend Tracy Chidende and Magwenzi’s neighbours, Assan Chikwengo and Chamo Gwizha, told the court Magwenzi later succumbed to the stab injuries in hospital.
Later, a report was made, leading to Masarakufa’s arrest.