Murder accused bail frightens family

Daniel Chida
ACCUSED: John Rankale

A 43–year-old former soldier who is on bail for the murder of his girlfriend may find himself back in prison following allegations that he has been interfering with state witnesses.

John Rankale brought shock and fear to the small village of Artesia sometime last year after hacking and killing his girlfriend, 22-year-old girlfriend Kebositswe Moakofi, and hitting his wife, Kealeboga Rankale with a car before shooting himself on the face.

The wife, who was attacked for refusing to grant Rankale permission to marry the now deceased Moakofi as a second wife sustained serious injuries and survived death by a whisker.

Rankale was arrested and detained in prison for his alleged evil deeds but was later granted bail and released to go back home.

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This however has caused fear and panic with Kealeboga’s family who feel that their lives are now in danger.

According to Kealeboga’s sister, 20-year-old Nancy Moakofi, she felt intimidated and threatened when she met Rankale in a bus to Gaborone recently.

Murder accused bail frightens family
LIVING IN FEAR: Nancy Moakofi

“He asked me why I did not greet him and went further to instruct me to buy an Orange mobile network sim card so that he can deposit money for the deceased in it. He said I should not tell anyone about it,” said Nancy.

Nancy further claimed that in their second encounter, Rankale shouted at her for not buying the Orange sim card as instructed. “I am no longer safe at all, I think he is trying to buy us because I am one of the witnesses who saw him driving away with my sister,” she said.

The deceased’s mother, Opelo Banyana Moakofi, 62, also expressed worry and concern that Rankale is back in the community.

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Murder accused bail frightens family
WORRIED: Opelo Banyana Moakofi

“ It’s not okay. We hear he was seen around borrowing a gun from one of the villagers. We don’t know what he wants it for. He is threatening all witnesses. He is even buying them groceries, cigarettes and alcohol. We want him back to prison until the case is over,” said Opelo who also wants government to compel Rankale to refund her funeral expenses.

According to Opelo, Rankale has also been intimidating them with his alleged powerful defence attorney from Zimbabwe whom he alleges will set him free.

“ We are suffering; we have a two-year-old kid who doesn’t have a mother to look after. We even asked the chief to intervene but he is not acting. Now we hear he wants to erect a tombstone. Soon we will take the matter into our own hands because we cannot allow this type of behaviour to continue unchecked. Rankale is arrogant and disrespectful,”said Opelo

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Asked to comment on allegations that he was protecting an accused murderer, the Village Chief, Kgosi George Thwane said that there wasn’t much he could to do to rid the village of Rankale as long as the court has not pronounced him guilty.

“This issue is political and I cannot go into it. The said person is back into VDC as an ordinary member and he comes here to the kgotla and interacts with the community. I don’t have his bail conditions, again what if he wins his case in the end. I know my limitations,” said the chief.

Meanwhile, Rankale has dismissed all the allegations levelled against him as falsehoods crafted by his political detractors to stop him from pursuing his ambitions.

“I consulted people about contesting for Bulela Ditswe for our area and they approved it, saying once the writ is open I should throw my name in the hat and now people are coming up with stories to discredit me. That is not fair on me, they want me back in prison.”

Concerning his bail conditions, Rankele said that he is prohibited to go to the scene of crime and he has adhered to the court instruction.

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