Chief, villagers sucked into inheritance row

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MASERU — Chief Napo Matsoso of Qoaling Ha-Besele has been sucked into a bitter wrangle in which one of his male subjects is fighting his nieces over an estate.

Chief Matsoso is accused of ganging up with some of his villagers to bar High Court sheriffs from evicting two orphans after their uncle, Foro Letele, 60, won a case against them.

Letele claims he is the heir to the house that the orphans are occupying because it was built by his late uncle Pheello Hlabana.

The orphans, Boitumelo Ratalane and her young sister, argue that the house belonged to their father who they said was Pheello Ratalane and not Hlabana as Letele alleges.

Letele, the orphans argue, is actually their uncle and they had stayed with him for some time after their mother died.

Letele has however disowned them saying they were not related to him and their late mother, ’Matseleng, was a tenant at the house in dispute and was never married to his brother.

Armed with a High Court order and assisted by sheriffs, Letele recently went to the house and tried to eject the children but he claims he faced stiff resistance from some villagers.

Letele alleges that Chief Matsoso had teamed up with villagers who allegedly threatened to assault a High Court sheriff for executing a judgment.

“Chief Napo (Matsoso) should take the blame for all the things his people are doing against me,” Letele said.

“He is the one fanning people’s anger against me to the point that they even undermine orders of the courts.”

On February 19 this year, Letele approached the Maseru district administrator, Thabo Ntai, who in turn wrote to the principal chief of Thaba-Bosiu, Khoabane Theko, asking him to investigate why Chief Matsoso was not helping Letele.

Chief Theko summoned Chief Matsoso this week seeking an explanation why his people had blocked the sheriffs and why he had not helped Letele.

Chief Matsoso confirmed that he had been summoned by Chief Theko but dismissed Letele’s allegations as false.

 “I told the principal chief in the presence of Mr Letele that I did my best to protect him and ensure that nobody would interfere with his stay at the estate,” Chief Napo said.

“In fact it was me who advised Mr Letele that he should not go there on his own because I feared that some people might want to harm him.

“By so doing I thought I was protecting him. I accompanied the sheriff five times to make sure that they oust those children without any obstruction from the people.

“On two occasions we were with the police from Lithoteng but one could see that even if Mr Letele was to enter those houses he would be attacked once we were out of sight.

“I do not know why he is adamant that I joined the people in obstructing the execution of the court orders. 

“I told the people that they were committing a crime because the courts have ruled that the estate belonged to Mr Letele and therefore they should not stop him from occupying the house,” Chief Matsoso said.

“There were murmurs of dissent as I spoke but I had to tell them the truth.”

He said there will be another meeting between him, the principal chief and Letele today before holding another public gathering at Mamenoaneng on Sunday.

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