Hashatsi: A po­lar­is­ing fig­ure

Lesotho Times - - News - Tefo Tefo

COLONEL Tefo Hashatsi ( pic­tured), who died from wounds sus­tained in a hail of bul­lets on Tues­day, was a po­lar­is­ing fig­ure who was loved and loathed in equal mea­sure by his sup­port­ers and op­po­nents re­spec­tively.

Col Hashatsi was shot by Lesotho De­fence Force (LDF) com­man­der Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Khoan­tle Motšo­motšo’s body­guards af­ter the lat­ter was gunned down by Brigadier Bu­lane Sechele at Ratjo­mose bar­racks.

Col Hashatsi first came to promi­nence in early 2014 when he or­dered his sub­or­di­nates in the LDF’S Spe­cial Forces Unit – he was lead­ing as a cap­tain – to show un­wa­ver­ing loy­alty to then LDF com­man­der Tlali Kamoli.

He was quoted say­ing Lt-gen Kamoli would be re­moved “over my dead body”.

Col Hashatsi was sub­se­quently rep­ri­manded for that re­mark by then Brigadier Maa­parankoe Ma­hao.

The rep­ri­mand re­sulted in the con­ven­ing of a court mar­tial for then Brig Ma­hao in which he was charged with “be­hav­ing in a man­ner un­be­com­ing of an army of­fi­cer” and for “in­tim­i­dat­ing” Col Hashatsi.

Dr Tha­bane later dis­solved the court mar­tial against Brig Ma­hao and ap­pointed him LDF com­man­der af­ter fir­ing Lt-gen Kamoli.

Lt-gen Ma­hao’s ap­point­ment was fiercely re­sisted by some army of­fi­cers who were aligned with LtGen Kamoli. Among them was Col Hashatsi.

He was part of team of of­fi­cers dis­patched in June 2015 to ar­rest LDF mem­bers ac­cused of mutiny.

Lt-gen Ma­hao was shot dead in one of the op­er­a­tions on 25 June 2015, with the LDF claim­ing he had re­sisted ar­rest.

How­ever, the Ma­hao fam­ily dis­puted the claim, ac­cus­ing the LDF of killing the for­mer army chief in cold blood as claimed by his neph­ews who were with him on the fateful day.

SADC es­tab­lished a com­mis­sion of in­quiry to in­ves­ti­gate cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing Lt-gen Ma­hao’s death. The com­mis­sion im­pli­cated Col Hashatsi in the as­sas­si­na­tion of Lt-gen Ma­hao.

Dur­ing his tes­ti­mony to the in­quiry, Col Hashatsi be­came syn­ony­mous with the “no com­ment” state­ment that he re­peat­edly made when asked ques­tions about the death of the for­mer army gen­eral.

He re­fused to an­swer whether he was present in Mokema where Lt-gen Ma­hao was gunned down.

The SADC com­mis­sion ec­om­mended that, among oth­ers, the army of­fi­cers who were al­legedly in­volved in the killing of Lt-gen be ar­rested and be brought be­fore the courts of law.

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