THE family of slain army commander Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao has warned Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader Mothetjoa Metsing against entertaining any notion that it has forgiven him for his alleged role in the assassination of the former army chief.
Lehloenya Mahao, a brother of the late Lt-Gen Mahao, said Mr Metsing “should not read anything into his handshake and exchange of pleasantries” with Professor Nqosa Mahao- the elder brother of the slain army boss.
Lehloenya said the Mahao family “have not forgotten who our enemies are” and “all those who killed (Lt-Gen) Mahao should be taken to the courts of law”.
Lehloenya said this during a weekend event in Mokema, Maseru, to commemorate the fourth anniversary of Lt-Gen Mahao’s assassination by members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF). Mr Metsing was deputy prime minister at the time of Lt-Gen Mahao’s assassination. Murder charges have been preferred against former LDF commander Lt-Gen Tlali Kamoli, former spy boss Colonel Tumo Lekhooa and eight soldiers. However, the Mahao family are on record saying the net should be cast wider to include Mr Metsing and former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili among the suspects.
Three weeks ago, Mr Metsing appeared alongside ABC deputy leader Prof Mahao at a public debate organised by the Transformation Resource Centre (TRC). The sight of the two foes shaking hands and Mr Metsing’s subsequent apology for the “mistakes” during his time in government fuelled speculation that the Mahao family would settle their differences with the LCD leader whom they accuse of masterminding Lt-Gen Mahao’s murder.
But Lehloenya Mahao this weekend said Mr Metsing should not read anything into his handshake with Prof Mahao as this did not “translate into forgiveness from the (Mahao) family”.
Lehloenya said the family remained resolute in its quest for justice against Lt-Gen Mahao’s alleged killers including Mr Metsing.
“The fact that Metsing shook hands with our brother at the debate forum at the TRC does not mean that we have forgiven him for killing our brother,” Lehloenya said.
“That handshake was just a gesture and it should not be interpreted in any other way. It does not translate into forgiveness from us as a family. All the cases you (Metsing) are faced with still stand and people should not, for once, think that we have forgotten who our enemies are.”
Lehloenya also attacked Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Machesetsa Mofomobe, for allegedly suggesting that Lt-Gen Mahao’s killers should be pardoned.
“This minister (Mr Mofomobe) goes on to say that those who killed Lt-Gen Mahao should not be prosecuted. That is not right. All those who killed Mahao should be taken to the courts of law and we are not going to compromise on that.
“If you (Mofomobe) and Metsing have reconciled on your differences it is well and good but just leave us out of it.
“Our suspicion is that the killing (of Lt-Gen Mahao) was plotted in Metsing’s office, so we should be left out of any attempts at reconciliation and wait for him (Metsing) to be absolved by the courts of law.
“We have also been reliably informed that during the All Basotho Convention election campaign (ahead of the 1-2 February elective conference), people were told not to elect Prof Mahao because his family is always making ridiculous demands. That is not true and all that we want is for our brother’s killers to be brought to justice.
“We want to be compensated for the shootings that happened at Lt-Gen Mahao’s house and we also want his children to be compensated because their breadwinner was taken away from them. We will not negotiate on those issues and that is our firm stand regardless of who is in power,” Lehloenya said.
Mr Metsing and Mr Mofomobe were not reachable on their mobile phones for comment. However, LCD deputy spokesperson Mr Apesi Ratšele said that “it is a lie that Mahao’s death was plotted by Mr Metsing”.
“There is no role that he (Mr Metsing) played in that assassination and the LDF announced that they are the ones who killed him (Lt-Gen Mahao).
“The Mahaos are a family of attention seekers. They just love the limelight they are getting and they have no solid grounds or evidence for these allegations. No one has barred them from going to court.
“They just enjoy whining even when it’s not necessary. They are liars who are always politicising everything surrounding their son’s killing. Their son was killed due to politics within the army as he was imposed on the army. They (Mahao family) should get a life and leave Metsing out of this,” Mr Ratšele said.