Monday, August 8, 2022

Another family ruined by Kalafatis’ murder

First there was fear and loathing. Then there was grief and the need for consolation. Now the family has resigned its fate to God as they worry about where their next meal is going to come from.

The distraught family is fighting back tears as they take me through the roller-coaster of emotions they suffered as they waited for the High Court to decide the fate of their son, Sergeant Dzikamani Mothobi who was recently convicted for accessory in the murder of John Kalafatis.

Dzikamani was the team leader of the four Botswana Defence Force men who were part of the Botswana Police Service joint operation in the hunt for John Kalafatis who was wanted in connection with a Phakalane robbery case.

The soldiers killed Kalafatis near Moonland shopping complex in Gaborone in a case that gained notoriety as an extra-judicial killing by the country’s security agents.

The four soldiers were prosecuted and convicted following a public outcry.

Mothobi was convicted and sentenced to four years, three of which were wholly suspended by Justice David Newman of the Lobatse High Court. His three juniors were sentenced to 11 years after the presiding judge found extenuating circumstances in the commission of the murder.
I am sitting with Sergeant Dzikamani’s family in his home village of Chadibe as they break their silence on the murder case that gripped the country for months.

Dzikamani’s sister, Mercy Mothobi, says she had stopped watching television and reading newspapers.

“I had just developed fear of reading newspapers and watching Btv. Now that it is over, I hope media attention will be removed from my brother,” she said.

Dzikamani’s father, 91 years old and ailing Ntshwarisang now has to worry about feeding the huge family now that the family breadwinner is behind bars.

“We have accepted the situation. There is nothing we can do. The only problem is that he was the breadwinner for the whole family and his imprisonment has left us with no one to take care of us. We are poor and his imprisonment is a major blow to 10 younger brothers and sisters. We regard him as the father in this family as you can see I am incapacitated because of old age. We are very hurt by what has happened to him but we put everything to God,” said Ntshwarisang.

However, as a father who has worked under difficult conditions during his youth days, he said he had just come to accept the fate that has fallen his son and is pinning his hopes on the BDF, which he says has promised to assist the family.

He said after the judgment, the BDF paid them a visit and told them what happened.

“We just hope they will be able to do something for us as they have promised to come back. We just need to accept what has happened although it is difficult,” said the old man, adding that the situation is compounded by the fact that he is indisposed to support his family on account of old age.

Ntshwarisang engaged Dzikamani on everything that he did, especially that he was the eldest son.
What is equally worrying him is the welfare of Dzikamani’s four children.

“He is a legally married man with four children and his wife is not working. I just do not know how the children will be supported during his time in jail,” he said.

Ntshwarisang said after Dzikamani was charged with the murder of Kalafatis, he came to Chadibe to tell him about what happened on the fateful evening. He said his son told him that when he got to the scene, he found that his colleagues had shot and killed Kalafatis.

“He assured me that he did not fire a single shot as he was not at the scene but some distance away at the time. He accepted responsibility that he was the team leader at the time,” said Ntshwarisang.
Dzikamani’s mother, Kebalemogile, who could not hold her tears during the interview, echoed similar sentiments to those of her husband.

The family was convinced that Sergeant Dzikamani had a great future ahead of him. They received the news of their son joining the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) in 1993 with joy. Little did they anticipate that his career choice would one day land him in jail and bring them untold misery and media attention.


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