Friday, October 30, 2020

Kalafatis murder – the plot thickens

Neither the Commissioner of Police, Thebeyame Tsimako, nor the Botswana Defence Force Commander, Tebogo Masire, issued the command for the execution of John Kalafatis two weeks ago.

The Botswana Police Service last week distanced itself from the shooting. Botswana Police Service Public Relations Officer, Assistant Commissioner Christopher Mbulawa last week referred Sunday Standard to the Botswana Defence Force (BDF).

Botswana Defence Force Commander, Tebogo Masire this week distanced himself from the shooting explaining that the army officers were attached to the Botswana Police Service at the time of the incident. The BDF commander told Sunday Standard that once the officers are attached to Botswana Police, the BDF is not informed about their assignments.

In a curious development, more than a week after the murder of Kalafatis, Botswana Police Service (BPS) still does not know why he was on the “wanted” list. Mbulawa told Sunday Standard that he still had to find out why Kalafatis was wanted by security agents. This has stoked speculations that the case was not in police records as it had not been reported at a police charge office through the normal process.

The Minister of Justice, Defence and Security, Ramadeluka Seretse, would also not disclose why Kalafatis was wanted by security agents. He, however, assured Sunday Standard that Kalafatis’ murder will be fully investigated and appropriate action taken.

Kalafatis’ family is, on the other hand, planning to launch private prosecution to ensure that their son’s killers do not get away with murder.
The family has engaged a top flight South African pathologist, Professor Jan Botha. The Free State’s Chief pathologist has been involved in a number of high profile cases, among them that of South African mining magnate, Brett Kebble, who was shot dead in Johannesburg in September last year.

An autopsy performed by Botha three days after the murder found that the muzzle of a gun was rammed into Kebble’s jaw with such force that it had produced a deep black bruise and “contusions”. Botha also conducted the post mortem on divers Dave Shaw and Deon Dreyer – whose bodies were retrieved from the world’s third-deepest freshwater cave, Boesmansgat in the Northern Cape, in 2005.

Botswana Police Service Public Relations Officer, Assistant Commissioner Christopher Mbulawa, told Sunday Standard that an inquest docket has already been opened on the Kalafatis murder. He said the inquest will then reveal all the circumstances that led to his shooting.

Mbulawa, however, confirmed that Members of the Botswana Defence Force who shot Kalafatis are still on duty saying action against them will only be considered following the outcome of the inquest.

Kalafatis’ killing is among the 12 known victims of the Botswana security agents shot dead between the months of 1st April 2008 to May 2009. A total of 8 suspects were allegedly involved in the 12 incidents.

Member of Parliament for Gaborone Central and Botswana Congress Party Publicity Secretary, Dumelang Saleshando, says the incidence of extrajudicial killings appears to have become the norm since April 1st 2008.
April 1st marks the inauguration of the current president, Ian Khama, into power.

“The manner in which the latest cold blooded killing of Kalafatis was carried out demonstrates that the Botswana security agents are becoming more confident and emboldened in carrying out orders to kill suspects on sight,” said Saleshando.

The Botswana Police Service (BPS) has publicly denied any participation in Kalafatis killing. The BPS has allegedly focused the attention of the media towards the BDF’s involvement in the case.

According to Saleshando, it now appears that the execution was carried out by the BDF and the DIS.

“Under president Khama, DIS has become a death squad that is a law unto itself; its agents obey no law or no rule and can not be held to account by any democratically elected or credible institution,” said Saleshando.
The BCP has demanded that there be a judicial inquest into the latest killings by the security agents.

“It is no longer reasonable to expect that the very institutions that are waging a war of terror on the citizens are capable of investigating themselves,” said Saleshando.

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