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Who murdered Botswana's John Kalafatis

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18 Jun 2015 at 14:04hrs | Views
"You don't f*** with Ian Khama," one of the accused in the John Kalafatis murder investigation is reported to have said before security forces allegedly gunned down the suspected criminal.

A packed Botswana High Court heard the evidence of his younger brother Costa Kalafatis as the high profile case opened in the High Court.

Giving evidence he alleged that he was told,  "You don't f**k with Ian Khama," as security officers revealed they had orders to kill his brother. Narrating events that led to the alleged murder, Costa said the accused, Dzimakane Mothobi had told him this as they questioned him on the whereabouts of his brother.

Mothobi was charged together with three other Botswana Defence Force corporals, Goitseman Sechele, Ronny Matako and Boitshoko Maifala for the murder of Kalafatis.

But before his death, John Kalafatis, was just an ordinary human being, but his death has elevated him to a higher plane where he is now in the spotlight, a popular figure, made more popular by the brutal way in which he was executed by security agents.

Kalafatis was born 33 years ago and raised in Gaborone. According to his obituary, which was circulated at his funeral last weekend, he went to the elite Northside Primary School and went down south to pursue his secondary education in Grahamstown in South Africa.

The father of two children, he is said to have been, at the time of his death, involved in a family business "and pursued his career with passion into the business," it reads in part.

His detractors believe that Kalafatis was a career criminal who used force and visited terror on his victims. Despite this, some, especially his close friends and family members talk of a John who was full of love, affable and charming in his personality. "When we think of you, it's difficult not to grin and shed a tear at the same time. You undeniably touched so many lives. Your smile and sincere compliments easily captured the essence of a warm heart.

Your ability to touch with care and gently wipe away the tears that misery seeped in,. as your aunts and uncles, we can't forget how you constantly expressed your deepest respect for us," reads the obituary.

In the messages, which have been penned by his relatives; cousins, uncles, aunts and friends, there is a constant in the way his character is portrayed. He comes across as a charming individual, who knew how to make people feel good and at ease around him.

The messages tell a story of a young man possessed with love for people.

"You are not easy to forget, your charming personality, your sense of humour, your determination to provide your children with security, comfort and love are qualities only a few on this earth have.

It is so unclear why someone so beautiful was taken away from us so early in his life. But what is clear is that you have embedded your alluring, radiating attributes within our lives, we will forever carry a bit of John within, always," reads one of the messages.

In her message, also written in the obituary, Kalafatis' girlfriend says that their dream of growing up together as lovers was cut short. "So, all I can say is that you may be gone my love, but you will always live in my heart, the hearts of our children and the hearts of all those who love you," she says.This poignant messages do not only serve to show the pain that is felt by people close to this young man whose life was cut short at its prime, but at the same time begs the question of 'who really is John Kalafatis?'

There appears to be a contradiction. On the other hand, reports from government indicate that Kalafatis was a highly dangerous criminal wanted by the law.

Interestingly, one man, in an interview, revealed that Kalafatis was accosted by the latter at the Extension 10 bars in Gaborone after he accidentally stumbled on him spilling his drink."He took out his knife and tried to stab me. Luckily for me, the security guard came and stopped him," the man alleged.

The version of the police on the man is that Kalafatis was a suspected criminal wanted by the police for many crimes. A public statement released this week Tuesday said that "The deceased, John Kalafatis, had a warrant of arrest issued against him on 12 January 2009 for armed robbery among others. All along, he was a fugitive from justice," reads the police statement.

When one looks at the police statement against the detailed personal attributes of Kalafatis given by his beloved at his funeral, the question of who exactly Kalafatis was becomes more difficult to answer than ever. Is it possible for one to possess such love as explained by his kith and kin and be as violent as the security services claim?

Perhaps the only man rightly placed to answer the question well is the man himself, Kalafatis, for only he knew his heart and his soul, and only he could have understood who he really was.But then in the sound of that gunfire in Extension 12, the answers to this important question were frozen, as his life ebbed away leaving us with this difficult question: "Who was Kalafatis?"

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