Hashatsi’s mother begs  for answers

Hashatsi’s mother begs for answers

MASERU – IT has been more than a year since Colonel Tefo Hashatsi was gunned down by his colleagues.
His mother, ‘Matšepo Hashatsi, has refused to accept the government’s version of what happened during that September 5 morning.
The government says Lesotho army commander, Lt Gen Khoantle Motšomotšo, was assassinated following a misunderstanding with two of his subordinates, Hashatsi and Brigadier Bulane Sechele.

It says it was Sechele who pulled the trigger and killed Motšmotšo, sparking a fierce fight that left Sechele and Hashatsi dead.
Hashatsi’s mother has however dismissed that version claiming her son was murdered in cold blood as he was not armed.
‘Matšepo Hashatsi told thepost this week that she will only find closure once she gets answers on why her son met such a cruel fate.

The government said when the shootout happened, Lt Gen Motšomotšo was with a visitor in his offices.
But that visitor is now known to be Lt Colonel Mashidi after he testified in a court martial last week.
Lt Colonel Mashidi is also the army spokesman.

‘Matšepo Hashatsi maintains her son was killed in cold blood.
She says that Lt Colonel Mashidi’s testimony during the court martial hearings last week that her son did not have any gun in his possession shows that he was not planning to fight the day he was shot.

What worries her most, she says, is the silence from the Lesotho Defence Force on the proceedings to ascertain the truth.
She says the family only learnt of the court martial proceedings through the radio, yet she expected families of the victims to be invited for the hearings.
The family was also angered by the fact that their son was not given a military send-off.

The government said the two, Brig Sechele and Col Hashatsi were rebels who could not be buried with military honours.
While leading his evidence in court, Lt Col Mashidi said it was between 9am and 10am when Brig Sechele and Col Hashatsi entered the slain commander’s offices.
Lt Col Mashidi informed the court that the late Lt Gen Motšomotšo asked both Brig Sechele and Col Hashatsi to wait outside while he was attending to him (Lt Col Mashidi).

He told the court that Brig Sechele refused to leave the offices as ordered but instead pulled his hand away from Col Hashatsi, who was trying to persuade him to budge.
“At this juncture, Brig Sechele was very angry and went towards the former commander and asked him three times why he was selling them out to the police,” the court heard.
Lt Col Mashidi further told the court that Brig Sechele unzipped his jacket, took out a gun and shot the commander.
“I can’t even remember how many times,” he said.

It is this testimony that has infuriated Hashatsi’s family.
The family has always defended its son, saying he was not in the mood to fight.
‘Matšepo says she was certain that her son would have not chickened out if he was up to a fight.

Advocate Thulo Hoeane was leading Lt Col Mashidi in evidence in the court martial proceedings.
The proceedings will resume next Wednesday.

When asked to comment, government spokesman Nthakeng Selinyane said Lt Col Mashidi was the right person to respond in his capacity as the army spokesman.
Lt Col Mashidi said he could not comment on the issue as it is still in the courts.
“You have learnt that the proceedings are still in the courts. And the testimony that I gave is for the court’s purpose,” he said.

Majara Molupe

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