‘Forgive Mashai’

MASERU — “Please forgive Mashai. Forgive the mercenaries. Forgive the exiles.”

That is the gist of a pleading letter that controversial Moeketsi Tsatsanyane  (pictured) wrote to Prime Minister Pakhalitha Mosisili last month.

Tsatsanyane, popularly known as Chaltin, wrote the letter to Mosisili on June 14 appealing for mercy for Makotoko Lerotholi and other “political” exiles.

Lerotholi, popularly known as Mashai, is currently in South Africa awaiting extradition to Lesotho to stand trial for charges of murder, attempted murder, robbery and kidnapping.

Police say Mashai was the mastermind behind a gang of about 15 suspected mercenaries that took part in the April 22 attacks on State House, Makoanyane barracks and attempted to kill Mosisili.

He will face 31 charges if Lesotho manages to get him extradited.

Mashai is currently out on bail.

He is also wanted in connection with the 2007 attacks on ministers’ residences.

Yet Chaltin says he must be forgiven.

But he is asking Mosisili to do more.

According to Chaltin, Jessie Ramakatane who is jointly charged with Mashai for the April attack should be pardoned as well.

And so should Lit’sitso Sekamane and Thabiso Mahase who are in exile but are wanted in connection with the 2007 disturbances.

“I would like to see you Prime Minister sitting down and holding talks with Mashai, Sekamane, Lerotholi, Mahase and others sitting down at peace with one another,” said Tsatsanyane in his letter to Mosisili a copy of which was seen by the Lesotho Times.

But he goes further to add more pleas.

He is pleading with Mosisili to forgive the suspected mercenaries that police say were led by Mashai in the April attacks.

He tells Mosisili that pardoning these people will encourage what he calls a “healing process for the country”.

Political fights are stunting Lesotho’s economic and development growth, Chaltin says.

“The lack of peace is brought about by the state of our politics of starvation which have no progressive policies that can bring peace which Moshoeshoe so

devotedly worked for,” he says.

Chaltin told the Lesotho Times this week that “it

will be proper if the charges against Mashai and his co-accused are dropped” for the sake of peace in Lesotho.

“I am asking Mosisili to forgive these people for the sake of peace in this country. We are busy running after each other when poverty is growing in this country.

“I am saying we need to sit down with Mashai, Mahase, Ramakatane and Sekamane to find what has angered them to commit those alleged crimes. Then we forgive them and start afresh.”

He says by continuing with the prosecution of the suspected mercenaries the country was “losing a chance to get crucial answers on the issue”.

“I have a strong belief that those foreigners were sent by someone from Lesotho. They don’t have interest in Lesotho but they were paid by someone. We need to talk to them so that they give answers that will help this country.”

“These political disturbances have been going on for too long. It’s time to stop.”

He said: “Mosisili must find it in his heart to forgive these people in order to lead by example.”

Chaltin is however aware that he is asking for a hefty price but he insisted that with political will and commitment from the government a general pardon is possible.

He is also aware that the charges were not brought by Mosisili but by the state.

“I know the technicalities but I still think that the prime minister has the power to do something about it. It is for the good of all.”

He said he is still waiting for a response from the prime minister.

Chaltin has claimed credit for helping negotiate the return of other exiles that were accused of taking part in the 2007 attacks.

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