Mahao family demands slain son’s assets

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Lehloenya Mahao

Keiso Mohloboli

The family of slain former Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Commander Maaparankoe Mahao has written to government demanding the “immediate” handover of his cell-phones, firearm and spectacles.

The family says the whereabouts of the said assets was never revealed following the brigadier’s fatal shooting by LDF members on 25 June 2015 outside his Mokema farm. Government claims Brigadier Mahao was killed by the military while resisting arrest for alleged mutiny, with the family insisting his shooting was cold-blooded murder by “cowardly” LDF elements.

Demoted from Lieutenant General to Brigadier as well as the LDF command in May this year after government claimed his promotion in August 2014 was illegal, his shooting has since become the subject of a regional inquiry and a threat to the country’s stability.

However, the family is not happy that their late son’s mobile phone, gun and spectacles remain with the government more than one month after his death and on Monday this week wrote a letter to the Ministry of Defence Principal Secretary (PS) demanding their surrender.

The family wants government to handover “the equipment” to the family lawyer Advocate Haae Phoofolo with immediate effect.

The letter, signed by brothers Qamako, Lehloenya and Mahao, further accuses the LDF of making calls to family members using the late Maaparankoe’s mobile phones.

“The family has noted with concern that General Mahao’s phones are being misused by their unlawful custodians (LDF elements) who cowardly shot him on 25 June 2015. These elements continue to make calls, whatsapps and emails to family members, friends and the public at large.

“We hope your office (PS Defence) will understand the serious trauma caused by this blatant misuse of General Mahao’s equipment and that your office will facilitate its handover to the lawyer’s family with immediate effect”.

Mr Qamako Mahao yesterday told the Lesotho Times that it was “disturbing” for a teenage boy to receive a call from his late father’s phone during the night.

“The boy has not answered the calls but mobile phones are smart because they register missed calls. He has been receiving calls from his late father’s mobile phone and this is traumatic for a young boy to get such calls. I don’t want to go into details of the messages other family members have been receiving through the same phones, for security reasons, but it is very frightening to receive messages from someone you are still mourning and trying to  accept that he is no more,” Mr (Qamako) Mahao said.

On their part, Defence and National Security minister Tšeliso Mokhosi and the ministry’s Deputy Principal Secretary Pitso Makosholo yesterday told the Lesotho Times that they had not received the Mahao family’s letter.

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