President Khama is a brave man!
by Sonny O. Serite
He is brave.
By releasing the three convicted murderers from jail, Khama demonstrated that he is a brave man who doesn’t give a hoot about public perceptions and outcry.
The situation that President Ian Khama found himself in after the three soldiers who murdered John Kalafatis were sentenced to jail needed a brave president in a country with a weak constitution.
Khama is armed with both. He is a brave man running a country with a flawed constitution, which gives him the leeway to do as he pleases. Yeah, well, you can also add he is arrogant and that is only because the constitution allows for him to be. It allows him to make decisions that have a bearing on the nation while it does not compel him to be answerable to the nation for his decisions. Lucky son of a chief! Lucky president he is.
As observed by former Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Commander Lt Gen Louis Matshwenyego Fisher in an interview with Weekend Post newspaper, President Khama was faced with three challenges when reaching a conclusion to pardon the Kalafatis killers.
‘‘First a grieving family; secondly an outraged nation; and thirdly, a most probably demoralised rank and file in the barracks whose commitment to duty is now questionable. It is possible that these factors weighed heavily on his mind,” Fisher is quoted as saying.
I want to add the fourth factor which might have tortured Khama’s mind leading to the clemency: the knowledge these soldiers were in trouble for having carried out a mission he sanctioned. With Khama you can’t rule out this plausibility for with Khama there are many possibilities.
It took me some time to believe news of the release of Kalafatis killers. The first thing I did on learning about the presidential pardon was rush to the calendar to check the date. The calendar confirmed the date as not April 1st. I then got on the ‘MacD mode’ and shuffled through all local radio stations. Their news headlines had the same script: President Ian Khama has pardoned and ordered the release of the three soldiers convicted of Kalafatis murder.
You see, there was a reason for my initial disbelief towards the news. You might not believe this but when the trial of the four soldiers commenced at the High Court, I told some of my friends that I did not see these killers rotting in jail for any period longer than a year. I had said their arraignment before the courts of law was just a smokescreen meant to deceive the nation into believing justice was taking its course. I suggested to my friends that Khama could pardon the killers and argue that he was doing it just as he had done with other prisoners before them. My friends told me I was now taking my ‘hatred’ towards Khama to inexplicable levels.
For some reason, I ended up conceding I was just thinking the unthinkable about my president. Though I had thought about it and told my friends about it, I never really imagined it could happen.
After the Court of Appeal upheld the conviction and sentence of the soldiers who killed Kalafatis, I was tempted to write and applaud Khama for not interfering with the independence of the Judiciary even as it was clear he knew why Kalafatis was killed.
I’m glad I never did.
Yes, Khama did not interfere with the independence of the Judiciary but he has now adulterated the confidence and wisdom of our Judges. The thoughts I had shared with my friends, at the time, deemed preposterous, have since been realised.
I can now safely claim to know Khama and how his mind works. My friends, whom I had shared my thoughts with on how Khama was likely to handle this issue, are now calling to say “just as you had told us when the Kalafatis issue broke out”.
Khama has vindicated me. I was so TB Joshua on this one. My prediction, or was it prophecy, was so accurate I’m even tempted to open my own church.
Going back to the factors raised by Lt Gen Fisher on what might have weighed on Khama’s mind when he decided and concluded to pardon the soldiers who killed Kalafatis, one can say Khama just decided, ‘to hell with the grieving family’.
He also must have felt, ‘the nation can go hang with their outcry’. He must have then decided, ‘if my boys in the army are happy why should I be bothered with the grumbling civilians?’.
It’s a shame we have this kind of a constitution which gives the president unfettered powers and absolves him from being answerable to the people he leads. It is also a pity that Botswana is made up of a nation that never seeks answers from its leaders.
We are not an inquisitive nation. We have been brainwashed to believe once someone becomes president, they are christened with wisdom. We surrender our fate into the hands of our president so much we would scramble for tree branches and roof rafters were he to declare a national suicide day.
The nation must be very worried at the powers our president wields. It is even more dangerous to the natives that it is to the foreigners. Imagine a situation where I and Mohamed personally rub the president the wrong way, say for example, by engaging in some hanky-panky with his girlfriend.
The president can deport Mohamed to his native India and since he cannot deport me, he can easily order my elimination fully aware he is not constitutionally compelled to divulge reasons for Mohamed’s deportation or reasons for my elimination. Afterwards he can choose to keep quiet and allow his puppets to quote sections from the constitution or even claim we were a threat to national security when in truth we would have been a threat to his love life.
When the president decided to release Kalafatis killers, he knew Batswana would not stand up and seek answers. He knew Batswana would not take to the streets to demonstrate their disgust. The president knew only the media would make noise for only a week and soon thereafter it will all be business as usual.
It seems the people who crafted our constitution never imagined Botswana would at some point have a president who could persecute the nation using what is legally permissible with total disregard to what is morally right. I’m shocked at reasons advanced by some morons who want us to accept that because it is alleged Kalafatis was a criminal his brutal killing is therefore justified.
These are the same idiots who want us to shut up because Khama’s clemency towards the Kalafatis murderers is well within the law yet they fail to explain why Kalafatis’ murder happened outside the dictates of the same constitution.
Our constitution calls for the arrest and prosecution of criminals. Even coldblooded murderers are not followed to their homes and killed by soldiers in the full glare of the public. They are tried and convicted and hanged by the neck after all the necessary legal procedures have been observed.
I, therefore, do not understand why some people would want to use Kalafatis’ alleged criminal record to justify these satanic actions by Khama and his trigger-happy boys.
Even the police have never come out to say Kalafatis had eluded arrest and that they had given up and surrendered him to the army.
I didn’t know John Kalafatis. Just like many people, I only got to know about him through the media after his murder. Surely, if Kalafatis wasn’t just a petty thief and was a hard core criminal who terrorised the country, we would have known about him while he was still alive. I am told John was a brave man and had he survived the bullets pumped into his body, Khama and his errand boys would be dealing with their match right now. They are lucky to have killed John because had they killed his brother and John was alive, the remake of Michael Dudikoff‘s action movie, Avenging Force, would be unfolding right before our eyes.
Rest in Peace John Kalafatis. Death is inevitable. Everyone, including your killers, is destined for death. You died through the bullet. We don’t know how your killers will die but we do know they will die, as will the rest of us and perhaps even more painfully than you who probably died instantly from the first bullet fired into your body. Sad!