Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Smoke and mirrors in Kalafatis’ murder

A game of smoke and mirrors: this is how government’s handling of the John Kalafatis murder appears. The recent inflammatory attack against the Sunday Standard suggests that government may be trying to create a little smoke in the hope that their reflection in the mirror will show them as angels. The strategy, however, only lays bare how low the government has sunk in trying to deflect attention from the real issues.

And this raises the question: Why should government try to deflect attention from the debate about Kalafatis’ murder? The whole thing becomes even more curious when one considers that, after distancing themselves from the incident, the Botswana Police Service this week went further claiming that they still do not know why Kalafatis was wanted by security agents.

The Botswana Police service PRO this week told Sunday Standard that he would have to consult first to establish why Kalafatis was on the wanted list. This adds weight to rumours that the case was not recorded on the police files because it was not reported at a charge office through the normal process.

If reports that Kalafatis was gunned down by five Botswana Defence Force commandoes are anything to go bye, then it only goes to suggest that this was a very high priority operation. Commandos are generally seen as “elite” soldiers who meet very high physical and intellectual requirements. They are normally trained for assault by land, sea or air. Training also includes unarmed combat, infiltration, patrol , reconnaissance, jungle, desert, arctic, and mountain terrains. Commando hallmarks are speed, mobility and stealth. To get an idea of how high priority the operation was, just consider that during reports of the Mauritanian coup a few years ago; only one commando was dispatched to coup and arrest Mauritanian President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi. So sending five armed military commandos to arrest Kalafatis was an over-kill (no pun intended). And the manner in which Kalafatis was killed suggests that the five commandos had come to do just that, and not to arrest him.

Immediately after the murder, the Botswana Police Service (BPS) distanced itself from the incident. The BPS were this week, however, trying to close ranks with the military, with the police PRO even insisting that the five soldiers should not be referred to as members of the military intelligence but as security agents. The term suggests that government now wants to point a finger in the general direction and not at a specific target and this fits in with their clumsy strategy of smoke and mirrors.

Now this begs the question: Why is government mobilizing the public media and security service towards what seems like an attempt at clouding the whole issue?

And the million dollar question: Now that we know that the Commissioner of Police did not assign the army officers to arrest Kalafatis, who issued the assignment? Ordinary logic suggests that it could only have been someone more senior. And did the fact that five commandos were assigned to the operation had to do with the stature of the person who issued the command or the gravity of the operation?

These are the questions government should be addressing instead of wasting energy on trying some fancy foot works.

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