…as slain driver is buried
FORMER Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili has pleaded for forgiveness on behalf of businessman, Tšeliso Nthane, who shot and killed his driver Kopang Mohapi.
Dr Mosisili begged the family of Mr Mohapi to forgive Mr Nthane while addressing mourners at the deceased’s funeral in White Hill, Qacha’s Nek district on Saturday.
Mr Nthane, whose businesses spans the construction and hospitality sectors, shot and killed his 51-year-old truck driver, Kopang Mohapi of Qacha’s Nek. Mr Mohapi was involved in a road accident at the Moteng Pass about 171 kilometres from Maseru while transporting construction machinery to Polihali in Mokhotlong for the Nthane Brothers company which was recently awarded a road construction tender for the second phase of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP).
After the shooting, Mr Nthane handed himself over to the Butha-Buthe police station where a murder charge was opened against him. He was released on M5000 bail on condition that he will be available to stand trial to finality. He was ordered to report to Butha-Buthe police on his remand dates and was also ordered not to interfere with the Crown witnesses.
At the funeral on Saturday, Mr Mohapi’s relatives vowed that they would make Mr Nthane pay for killing their own.
Mr Mohapi’s widower, ‘Mamohato Mohapi wept as mourners took turns to pass their condolences.
One of the moving speeches was delivered by Dr Mosisili who preached the importance of forgiveness which he said would also help the family overcome the pain they were going through.
Dr Mosisili told the mourners that he had spoken to Mr Nthane who he said “regretted shooting and killing Mr Mohapi”.
The former prime minister said that Mr Nthane told him that he wished to attend the burial and pay his last respects to Mr Mohapi but he did not do so because he thought his presence would cause more pain to the family. This statement was met with murmurs of disapproval by some mourners.
“I spoke to Tšeliso Nthane and he regrets shooting and killing Mr Mohapi,” Dr Mosisili said adding: “He told me that he will forever regret that split second that he lost it and raised his hand and killed a man”.
“He said it was his greatest wish to come here to see his victim’s last resting place.”
Dr Mosisili begged the family members not to harbour hatred or attempt revenge, warning that vengeance could escalate into more unnecessary fatalities.
“I heard one of the family members contemplating revenge on Tšeliso. We understand the anger and pain that you are going through and rightly so. A man has died leaving behind a wife and children. Nothing Ntate Nthane will ever do can bring back your loved one.
“Without sounding like I am downplaying the seriousness of this matter, I appeal to you not to seek revenge. That man’s (Mr Nthane) life will never be the same again. He dearly regrets the murder. Not a single day in his entire life will go by without that fateful incident haunting him. Do not let this death lead you into temptation of causing many more deaths,” Dr Mosisili said.
Speaker after speaker painted a picture of Mr Mohapi as a down to earth and hardworking man.
Tšeliso Masilo, a driver at Nthane Brothers, called Mr Mohapi a friend and a mentor. Mr Masilo said his late friend had mentored him when he was a new truck driver at the Nthane Brothers a few years ago.
“This man who is lying here was my friend and mentor. He introduced me to truck driving when I arrived at this company. Our friendship went beyond the work relations. He was a true friend. I even gave him a car as a token of appreciation for being a good friend. I have lost a brother indeed,” Mr Masilo said breaking down and was whisked off the podium.
Another mourner, Limpho Manamolela said it was hard to come to terms with Mr Mohapi’s death.
Mr Manamolela said he was still in disbelief that Mr Mohapi had died. He said the fact that Mr Nthane was responsible for the death, made it worse as he knew both men to good and respectful.
“I worked very closely with this man (Mr Mohapi). I also worked closely with Ntate Nthane. I know both men to have good hearts and respect for other people. I just wonder what happened between them that led to the shooting,” Mr Manamolela said.
Fusi Matša, a senior employee at the Nthane Brothers said the tragedy was a huge blow to the rest if the Nthane employees.
“We have lost a great employee in Ntate Mohapi. He was a humble man who took orders well. He perfected his work. He was our best and trusted truck driver who has delivered many huge machineries. We are weakened by his sudden death,” Mr Matša said.
Mr Matša said he was hurt by Mr Mohapi’s death because he was the one who called him in to replace the driver who had been assigned the duty to deliver the construction equipment on the fateful day.
“I called Ntate Mohapi to take over from another employee who had been assigned to deliver that machine. Ntate Mohapi had much more experience than the other driver and so I asked him to do the work. It was a big machine and I trusted his skills he had honed over the years from doing the same work. As usual, he accepted the assignment without any complaint. When I last spoke to him, he was alive and happy. You can understand my shock when a few hours later I heard news that he was dead,” said Mr Matša.
The highlight of the funeral service was a touching written message that Mrs Mohapi wrote to her late husband of how she, their two children and a grandson were lost without him.
“We have lived together for 30 years. You were the best husband I could ever ask for. Life will never be the same for me, our two children and our grandson without you. Rest in peace,” Mrs Mohapi’s letter read.
Ms Mohapi also said she was ready to meet Mr Nthane and forgive him on condition that he visits the family and tells them what exactly led to the shooting.
“I am inviting Ntate Nthane to come and explain to me what happened between him and my husband that led him to shoot him to death. All the explanations I am getting now do not make sense to me. He is the only person who knows what happened. The truth will console me and hopefully it will be his healing too,” part of Ms Mohapi’s letter states.
The Mohapi family spokesperson, Rethabile Mohapi said the Nthane family paid for all the funeral services.
Mr Rethabile said the family and the Nthane Brothers company were yet to meet to discuss compensation.
“We are yet to meet as a family and agree on the date of the meeting. No discussions have been held with regards to the compensation. We are willing to forgive Ntate Nthane provided he comes to explain everything that led to my brother’s death. It will do us no good to harbour hatred towards him,” Mr Rethabile said.