Man who questioned Khama fears for his safety…
A man who publicly questioned President Ian Khama ‘s decision to pardon soldiers that were convicted for murder has expressed serious fears for his life. 37-year- old Samora Motlhagodi of Pilane village in the Kgatleng district has been so afraid for his safety that he has since approached two SADC embassies to seek political asylum in the region.
Motlhagodi’s troubles started about a month ago when he shocked a packed kgotla meeting by confronting President Khama on his decision to pardon three soldiers who killed a civilian, John Kalafatis in a fatal police operation two years ago.
“We were shocked when you pardoned Kalafatis’ killers. I fear God and I fear murder. Of all the convicted criminals, the President chose to forgive murderers. What message was he trying to send to us as a nation? Was he trying to tell us that it is right for soldiers to gun down an unarmed civilian?” Motlhagodi had asked before he added: “I have one request though. After this question, may I continue to live.”
This week the terrified former police officer walked into The Voice offices in Gaborone to speak of how he has lived in constant fear since the day he made those controversial remarks.
“Ever since I asked that question I have been followed and certain friends and relatives have been warned not to communicate with me, “ Motlhagodi said.
He further claimed that although the President did not respond to his question and request during the kgotla meeting, when shaking hands with him afterwards, he had told him that he knew who he was and where he used to work.” Motlhagodi said he became concerned for his safety when one of the Presidential security agents later warned him that his life was in danger.
“The agent claimed that President Khama suspected I was sent by the opposition parties to humiliate and embarrass him at that Kgotla meeting.” Describing the events that convinced him that attempts were being made on his life, Motlhagodi said: “As a trained cop I should know when I am being followed. When I escaped attempted kidnapping by a man dressed in a Muslim woman’s garb a few days ago it became very apparent that my life was indeed in danger.”
He maintained that following the attempted kidnapping incident coupled with a number of villagers who suggested that unless he apologised to the President his life would continue to be in danger, he was left with no choice but to seek asylum.
“ If I was to be granted asylum before I leave I would like to let the President know that when I asked that question, I was not fighting him and I was not sent by anyone. I would like him to know that if it were not for the threats I would have asked four more questions because my intention was not to embarrass anyone but to simply seek answers,” Motlhagodi stated.
Asked whether by confronting the President again he would not be inviting more trouble, he said: “We are all cowards. But I am one of the cowards who choose to stand up and say, Mr President you scare us.”
Meanwhile Motlhagodi awaits response from the Embassies in regard to his asylum application.