As the nation reels from the recent death of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Secretary General, Gomolemo Motswaledi, prominent lawyer Dick Bayford alleges that there is a conspiracy by security agencies to attack him.
“My information is that an attack, most probably a disguised robbery or burglary has been planned and ready for execution against me by a shadowy squad drawn from one of the country’s intelligence and security agencies. Of course it is disconcerting to be living under the spectra of something as awful as this,” Bayford said.
A highly placed source within the Intelligence Community confirmed and also alleges that a hit squad to carry out a dirty campaign against a number of the country’s political and civil society leaders is in motion. The campaign, which the source alleges will be conducted by a crack team of state security forces, entails the carrying out of staged burglaries and robberies on residences of the intended targets, with “devastating” consequences.
Allegedly, amongst the targets identified is prominent human rights lawyer, Bayford. Bayford has been at the forefront in the fight for human rights and rule of law in Botswana, handling high profile cases against the government, including the Kalafatis’ case, in which John Kalafatis, a Gaborone resident, was gunned down execution style by members of a Botswana Defence Force elite squad, known as “Cobra” in May, 2009.
He also represented John’s brother, Costa who, was also shot by members of the Botswana security services in December, 2013, narrowly escaping with his life.
Bayford has, in both cases pressurised government to prosecute the perpetrators of the shootings, succeeding, in John’s case, to have his assailants convicted with one getting a 4 year sentence and the other three 11 year sentence. They were subsequently pardoned by President Ian Khama after serving just a few months. Government remains quiet on Costa’s case.
In March 2014 Bayford made an allegation following the shooting of Costa that the real cause for the victimisation of the Kalafatis family at the hands of the country’s security agencies was that he (Costa) was suspected of having in his possession a lap top that contained sensitive material on prominent figures in the country.
Recently, Bayford defended the former Military Intelligence (MI) Chief, Brigadier Peter Magosi and Sergeant Dzikamani Mothobi, one of the Cobra operatives responsible for the shooting of John. The two were ordered to appear before a BDF Board of Enquiry for the alleged disappearance of sensitive MI covert equipment. The case saw a fall out between the country’s security and intelligence apparatus. Named as witnesses against Magosi and Mothobi were the Permanent Secretary to the President, Eric Molale and DIS Director General, Isaac Kgosi. The case was however aborted when the enquiry against Magosi and Mothobi was dropped. No explanation was made by government why the enquiry was initiated in the first place and questions about the alleged disappearance of the covert equipment were never answered.
“Those in the corridors of power believe that Bayford knows a lot. His association with Magosi, who was MI Chief at the time of Kalafatis’ killing, which must have been sanctioned by the Executive, is causing a lot of discomfort at government enclave, the BDF High Command and the Intelligence Community,” said another source in the intelligence service.
“Not only that, he represents The Sunday Standard, which is presently engaged in a legal tussle in which the government seeks to prevent the newspaper from publishing expose on the Kgosi corruption case,” the source added.
Further pressed for comment Bayford said, “History will definitely judge harshly those who perpetrate such dastardly deeds. As for my calling to fight for justice in this land, I remain unfazed.”
Last week Wednesday following a speech delivered at Motswaledi’s memorial at UB stadium, an attempt to break in to the house of UDC President, Duma Boko, at Tlokweng was foiled. Boko was also involved as a family lawyer, together with Bayford, in the Kalafatis’ case.
No one senior in the security forces could be reached for comment as their phones rang unanswered.