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End of the road for Letsatsi

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MASERU – KEFUOE Letsatsi, 37, a famo music gangster who was gunned down two weeks ago, will be buried this Saturday. Letsatsi, who was notorious for his violent lyrics, was shot and killed in Gauteng, South Africa.

Sources in the famo music circles said Letsatsi, who was better known as Lelimo (The Cannibal) or Kholeata (Goliath), was killed as a direct result of factional fights within his Terene music gang.
Letsatsi had lived his life extolling violence. He even predicted his own death, saying in one of his own songs that he will die by a gun.

That prediction became true after unknown gunmen pumped several bullets into his body. The killers are still at large.

In 2020, Letsatsi gained notoriety after he confessed in an audio clip that he had shot one of the Terene kingpins, Molefi Matima also known as Mokata Lirope (Guard of Thighs) because he was afraid that he would kill him first.

After that, Lelimo’s relationship with the Terene boss, the late Rethabile Mokete (Mosotho Chakela), soured. The two were however to later mend bridges. Letsatsi, who in another song boasts of having trained many Terene followers how to pull a trigger, was lately under the new Terene leader, Ntei Tšehlana.

Tšehlana himself was shot dead four weeks ago while attending a political concert in Mokhotlong. Tšehlana was leading a faction that still hailed Mokete as the venerated leader of Terene even after his death while another faction that adored Matima (Terene of King Mokata) emerged, thus starting fresh factional war.

The leaders of the two factions then threatened one another on air. In a song titled Ribaneng, Letsatsi imagines men squaring it off physically, likening them with bulls that keep piercing each other with horns.

A soldier is sworn to die, he said in the song. He then goes on to declare that he is not afraid of death because all men will die one day. But he imagined himself, in the song, as a watery deep monster known in Basotho folklore as khanyapa that wreaks havoc when it moves from one place to another.

The violence-laden song depicts Letsatsi as being among men he calls cannibals who shoot their captured enemies in the mouths. Letsatsi was a feared Terene famo music artiste.

He was born in Semonkong but was raised in Ribaneng Ha-Richard, in the Mafeteng district. Letsatsi is survived by his wife and two children.

“His last born is just a month old,” a family member who refused to be named told thepost.

Letsatsi spent most of his time in South Africa where he was an illegal miner. But it was through music that he found fame and notoriety. Letsatsi was Mosotho Chakela’s right-hand man. Chakela was the founder of the Terene group that has attracted support in both Lesotho and South Africa.

He will also be remembered (among other things) as the prime suspect in the killing of Molefi Matima. After killing Matima, Chakela flew into a rage, calling Letsatsi a delinquent.

Later, Letsatsi made a clip confessing that he killed Matima because, besides fearing for his life, he owed him some huge amounts of money. Listening to his music, one could tell that Letsatsi was a rough man who was ready to fight at any given time.

He is one of the top Terene members who have been mowed down in recent times after Ntei Tšehlana, Teboho Senatla and Nako Sam Motseko. Terene is now split into two warring factions following the untimely death of its founder, the late Mosotho Chakela, in 2020.

There are members who still pay allegiance to Chakela even after his death. And Letsatsi was one of them. Others have defected to rally behind the late Matima. Shortly after Letsatsi’s death, Senatla was also eliminated.

These deaths have taken place in both Lesotho and South Africa and no arrests have been made. The deaths of Terene members have wreaked havoc in the once powerful gang. There is now a tense standoff between these belligerent factions.

When Letsatsi danced to his famo music, he would cover up his face so that people could not identify him. It is normal for famo artistes to flaunt their guns in photographs and show off their manhood. They even do this when they dance to their own music.

Letsatsi released four albums. But he also featured some artistes before he could produce his own music. Letsatsi praised Mosotho Chakela in his songs as the brave man who could achieve what seemed impossible to those around him.

His wife told this publication a fortnight ago that she was receiving some threats from unknown people on the phone. She declined to comment on the death of her husband.

Majara Molupe

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BNP wins rescission order against SG

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MASERU – THE Basotho National Party (BNP) this week successfully applied for a rescission of a court order that would have seen the party’s secretary general, Thato Lethobane, being awarded M126 000. Lethobane’s case will now be heard again at the Directorate of Dispute Prevention and Resolution (DDPR) on Monday.

The party raised technical legal reasons that prompted the cancellation of the award that ordered the party to pay Lethobane for the time he did not receive his salary since his suspension.

Lethobane was suspended in October last year after he was accused of embezzling party funds and he asked the DDPR to order the party to pay him from October last year to April this year.

The BNP deputy secretary, Moeketsi Hanyane, who is holding forte at the party’s administration, told thepost last night that “Lethobane’s glow was short-lived and was wrong in the first place”.

“The DDPR award against us will not see the light of day because Lethobane got suspended for two years after we discovered that he stole the party’s funds,” Hanyane said.

“A thief is a thief and we cannot allow him to claim monies he is unworthy of,” he said.

“We have opened a case against him at the police and he cannot come around and say we owe him.”

Hanyane said Lethobane was suspended for two years so that after that period, if he still loved wanted to be part of the party, he could come and participate in its affairs again.

“The suspension was not meant to put him aside for a while to allow investigations but it is a punishment for what we found on him,” he said.

Hanyane said Lethobane is not owed anything for that period because he is officially out of office as a result of the punishment he got from the party not because he was suspended pending investigations.

He said the BNP did not defend itself at the DDPR and the arbitrator ruled in favour of Lethobane in default.

“We did not go to the DDPR on technical issues and we have since applied for and acquired a rescission of the award,” he said.

Lethobane declined to get into the details of his case with the BNP but only confirmed that he had won an award at the DDPR.

“After I realised how much they owed me I decided to go to labour and successfully claimed my payment,” he said.

“The case judgment was done in my favor, even though I will not discuss that issue much.”

The party pays its secretary general M18 000 per month.

Nkheli Liphoto

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Killer police investigated

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MASERU – PRIME Minister Moeketsi Majoro has set up a special team to investigate police officers who killed a student during a protest at the National University of Lesotho (NUL) last week. Majoro’s decision comes as pressure mounts on the government and the police to identify the officers who pulled the trigger and bring them to justice.

The police killed Kopano Makutoane and seriously injured six more students on Thursday last week during a strike over their stipends that were not paid in full. Makutoane was shot with multiple live bullets in the face.

Police Minister Lepota Sekola, Commissioner of Police Holomo Molibeli and Development Planning Minister, Selibe Mochoboroane, confirmed that a team has been set up but were reluctant to give further details. thepost has been told that the police have zeroed in on 12 police officers who were part of the team that responded to the protest.

The police management is said to be close to suspending some of the officers and opening a murder case against them. Their names cannot, however, be revealed because they have not been officially identified and charged.

Majoro visited the Makutoane family last week and promised justice for their slain son. The strike was triggered by the National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS)’s delay to pay students their monthly stipends.

Those who received the allowances only got M450 instead of their usual monthly stipend of M1 100. Several eyewitnesses and victims told thepost that the police conducted raids targeting NUL students even after the protesters had dispersed. Sello Khechane, a second-year student, said the police fired live ammunition at the protesters.

“We started fleeing the place and did not even realise that one of us was shot near the gate,” Khechane said.

One of the injured students said about 20 police officers knocked at her rented room when she was sleeping, dragged her out and beat her with sticks and truncheons.

“I was still wearing my gown and was not even part of the protest,” she said.

Another girl who had visited her brother was caught in the crossfire as police went on the rampage.

“I was watching a movie when I saw a mob of police approaching the door and asking all of us in the house to come out,” she said.

She said the police used sticks and kicked her.

“I tried to convince them that I am not a student there, but they refused to listen,” she said.

The Social Development Minister, Selibe Mochoboroane, said he immediately intervened when he was informed of the disagreement between the Students’ Representative Council and the NMDS management over the stipends.

“The school told us that there was a problem as students walked out of examination rooms.”

He also said the NMDS told him that there is a law that says students should not get full amounts when their school days are cut short during a month.

“We made a decision that students should get full amounts,” he said.

He said the students were notified that they would get full amounts but continued with the strike.

“I am sorry that one student lost his life.” The incident has sparked an outcry from different political parties.

The Basotho Action Party (BAP) leader and former Vice-Chancellor of the NUL, Professor Nqosa Mahao, condemned the killing saying it was the third time police have used force during protests and ended up taking lives.

“We are very saddened and embarrassed by this act,” Professor Mahao said.

He said they condemn the police actions that led to the death of the student, saying the behaviour by police shows that Basotho’s lives are not safe. He recalled that in 2009 the police shot a student during protests.

“They shot Tumelo Mohlomi in 2017, she was also shot by the police,” Professor Mahao said, adding that the police officers involved in the incident were not charged.

He blamed the conflicts on the NMDS management “that does not do its job correctly”. The Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) leader, Sam Matekane, met NUL students near the campus on Tuesday.

“We condemn that behaviour, it was uncalled for, it was not necessary,” Matekane said.

He said the police’s job is to protect and save people, not to kill people as they did or do.

“When promised sponsorship, we are expecting you to get them as promised,” he said.

“It does not make sense that someone can carry a gun and shoot an unarmed student.”

He also pledged to provide the students with transport to Quthing where Makutoane will be laid to rest.

“We will make sure that those who were affected get the necessary counselling and also help them,” he said.

The NUL management also condemned the killing and injuring of other students. In a statement, the university said it was aggrieved by “the plan by the NMDS to prorate the student’s allowance for June 2022”. The university pleaded with the students to remain calm, adding that it has started visiting all the affected families.

Staff Reporter

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Mafeteng magistrates’ court records burnt

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MASERU – A fire gutted the records section of the Mafeteng Magistrate’s Court last week. The police suspect it was an act of arson. Thousands of crucial case records were destroyed.

This could affect hundreds of cases that were pending in the court. Police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli confirmed the incident, saying investigations have started but no arrests have been made.

“But our preliminary investigations show that the court was intentionally set on fire,” S/Supt Mopeli said.

“Important court documents have been set alight together with some chairs and a table.”

A source close to the case told thepost that a container of petrol was found outside a broken window. The guard was not at work when the incident happened.

In 2010 computers containing information on cars registered in Maseru and Leribe were burnt in a fire that police suspected was deliberately started to destroy records and cover up corruption.

The Integrated Financial Management System computers, National Transport Information System server, computers, and a printer were destroyed.

The incident happened as the police were investigating a syndicate that was illegally registering stolen cars.

In 2019 a fire at the Ministry of Health’s head office destroyed computers and records.

Although ministry officials said the fire could have been caused by an electrical fault, suspicions of foul play lingered on.

Majara Molupe

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