10 November 2009

Botswana: Kalafati's Friend Fears for His Life?

Tshepho Mosala, a close friend of the late John Kalafatis, has gone into hiding because his life is under threat from security agents, a Gaborone lawyer has revealed.

Following Kalafatis' execution allegedly by soldiers earlier this year, Mosala revealed in an interview that he was informed by some Directorate of Intelligence of Security (DIS) agents that President Ian Khama had long ordered his friend's killing.

This was to avenge the robbery which occurred at the residence of Khama's businessman friend at Phakalane.

Mosala and Kalafatis were suspected by the security agents to have committed the robbery. The Office of the President (OP) has since denied allegations that Khama ordered Kalafatis' fatal shooting.

Gaborone private attorney, Busang Manewe said Mosala recently confided in him that another order had been issued to eliminate him as well. Manewe said Mosala revealed that security agents have devised a strategy to wipe out potential witnesses in the Kalafitis case. Mosala has been informed that he is going to be the next one on the list. Apparently some top government officials are concerned that the Kalafatis' case is going to open a can of worms.

But Manewe said Mosala told him that he was not going to be directly executed by security agents like Kalafatis. But in his case, it would be criminals who were going to be used to eliminate him.

Manewe said Mosala fears for his life so much that he went into hiding last week and switched off his mobile phone.

Manewe said there are no legal steps that he can take at the moment.

But he expressed concern about Mosala's safety. He said on Friday, Kalafatis's younger brother, Costa was briefly detained by the DIS.

Manewe, who was Kalafatis' lawyer, said he informed him two months before his death that an order had been issued to eliminate him. But Manewe did not act during that time because he felt that such a thing could not happen in Botswana.

He also produced a letter in which Kalafatis informed him that his life was in danger from security agents.

Part of the letter reads: "Mr Manewe I've sent my sister on my behalf. Now the reason being is that I am now a wanted man in connection with a house burglary that occurred in Phakalane xmas time. What I've gathered is that there were two intruders, one light in complexion and the other dark. I am scared of going to them because the president has influence in this matter. Apparently the complainant called the president to tell him that he was robbed at home, since they are family friends, before he called the police. The person is Ian West of Taurus Batteries."

"They say I should be shot on sight, now imagine what they can do to me if they can get their hands on me. So I'd like you to represent me so that there can be hand over (sic) and that I should not be tortured as that is their intensions, I've got no pending case at court, once the file is opened I'll give you a call at your office. I'd appreciate your acceptance and assistance." After Kalafatis was killed, Mosala also expressed fears about his life. He said he lived in fear and could no longer go to places unaccompanied.

During an earlier interview, Mosala said he handed himself in to the DIS when he learnt that they were wanted in connection with the Phakalane robbery. He said they were never involved in the robbery.

Mosala said the DIS agents locked him up in a vehicle which was exposed to the sun. He was later handed over to the Broadhurst police who cleared him.

The DIS agents enquired about Kalafatis' whereabouts. Mosala revealed that the DIS agents informed him that there has been an order from the top to eliminate Kalafatis. He said they told him to warn Kalafatis that an order had been issued to kill him. He passed the sad news to Kalafatis.

He said Kalafatis was so scared that he could not hand himself over to security agents. He added that in the past, the DIS agents had tortured Kalafatis and abused him.

Mosala said after some time, the DIS agents told him that they were not the ones who were going to execute Kalafatis. The assignment had been handed to a crack military unit.

After the Kalafatis shooting, the Botswana Police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Chris Mbulawa said Kalafatis was killed by soldiers. The police were not involved in the killing.

Commenting on the latest case, Mbulawa said if anyone's life is under threat, he should report to the police. He said any person is entitled to protection according to the laws of this country.

"We will protect anybody who is under threat as long as there is credible evidence," he said. Mbulawa claimed that they could still take action even if one's life was under threat from security agents.

He said if Mosala reported to the police, they would take up his case. "He should come forward." He said if Mosala feels that he is neglected by the police, he could appeal to other government structures and even to the minister.

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