Despite proclaiming her innocence, a 48-year-old Ramotswa woman was ordered to pay P10,000 (about R13,200) cash or four cows for wrecking Pona Doctor’s marriage.
Nthomegang Mooketsi has until the end of December to compensate her love rival; failure to pay the fine in time will see her property auctioned off to settle the degrading debt.
The love cheat’s fate was sealed by a Customary Court of Appeal sitting in Ramotswa last week Thursday, which upheld a 2017 ruling made by the village’s traditional court.
Mooketsi had appealed against the judgment, arguing that she was not the reason Pona and her soon to be ex-husband, Moeti Doctor, 46, were experiencing difficulties in their marriage.
Mooketsi, who is said to be cohabiting with Moeti, told the court that when they first met he never told her he was married.
Her main ground of appeal was that when dealing with her case, Kgosi T.T. Mokgosi sided with Pona without giving her (Mooketsi) the chance to defend herself.
Incidentally, Pona had initially been demanding a P100,000 (about R132,000) payout.
Information before court indicates that Pona and Moeti married in October 2007, but their relationship soured when Mooketsi came into the picture a year later.
Pona, who said she has three children with Moeti, added that he has since deserted them, abandoning their matrimonial home in 2016 to move in with Mooketsi.
“She has a husband as well, though he does not stay with her in Ramotswa,” claimed the dejected woman who says her husband now wants divorce.
The matter was among many marriage wrecking cases recently heard by the Customary Court of Appeal in Ramotswa, prompting the court to call on the village’s residents to ‘stop snatching each other’s spouses!’
When presiding over some of the cases, Kgosi Kgabosetso Mosielele warned the marriage wreckers to stay away from married people to avoid being bewitched by dejected spouses.
The Court President, Kgosi Mothibe Linchwe also called on the spouses to learn to be faithful to their partners and ‘keep their roving eyes closed’.
The cases come after a recent ruling by Francistown High Court Judge, Lot Moroka, who asserted that an adulterous claim was unconstitutional and outdated
However, local attorney, Uyapo Ndadi explained that Moroka’s ruling did not render adultery charges unlawful at Customary Court level.
“When an appeal is to be made from the Customary Court, the High Court will judge the case according to the law which was used to deal with it. What people need to understand is that Moroka was dealing with common law and therefore if a similar case is brought directly to the High Court, then the common law will apply, but a Customary Court case is dealt with through customary law,” clarified Ndadi.
When dealing with a marriage wrecking case in May this year, Moroka had ruled, “It would be tragic for any court dealing with the issues of adultery and marital infidelity to look at the problem wearing 18th century goggles. If court does not step out of the capsule of time which the law books have become and look at contemporary Botswana, the court will get it completely wrong.”