ONE FOR THE ROAD

Maybe Botswana Police should now consider establishing a special ‘ritual killings unit’, ke raa hela! A unit that will be dedicated to investigating and resolving any murder cases with the hallmarks of ritual killings. It would have all the necessary resources to ensure that the work is done effectively, efficiently and timely.

However, to kick start the process, there should perhaps be extensive research into ritualistic crimes that would help to adequately define exactly what ritual killings are, and differentiate them from murder committed for secular motives. While murder is still murder, understanding ritual killings might also help in putting measures in place to prevent them from taking place.

It might help dispel myths about power and wealth that often motivate such atrocious acts. Most importantly, it might help in equipping investigators in the intricacies of unraveling such crimes. There might also be a need to incorporate ritual murder in the constitution of the country and recognise that it exists and there are sections of society that still strongly believe in it.


Taking a ritual killing like any other murder would be amiss. When treated as such, law enforcement agencies only view it from a behavioral science perspective of psychology, criminology and forensic science. I can only imagine the difficulty of investigating a ritual murder because there are no standardised methodologies of determining whether such a murder is motivated by a religious belief, cult and Satanism, among others, which are highly embroiled in controversy. The motive of perpetrators could also be difficult to determine. Perhaps that is why ritual killings are not recognised as such, but only as murder by law. It is however important to realise that there is a whole world of the supernatural beyond what is seen physically.

One thing for sure is that with a heightened quest for acquiring potency, such killings might not end until something drastic happens.

‘Ritual killings unit’ would also have to borrow a lot of expertise from traditional doctors who more often than not are involved in such cases. Gongwe e bile some traditional doctors could be roped into such units. In addition, government would have to come closer to the traditional healing profession and ensure efficient regulation that would ensure that practitioners abide by the law in their operations, and call out their own as a perpetrator should investigations prove any wrong doing.

Human rights activists and each and every member of society need to stand against such practices. Batswana desire for their children to grow and thrive in safe environments. Not environments that are built on beliefs that undermine human life. There should be stern voices that condemn such practices and raise awareness about them.