Terene leader killed

NTHAKO MAJORO

MASERU – Police are still puzzled following the fatal shooting of Terene movement’s interim leader over the weekend in Mokhotlong. Ntei Tšehlana was confirmed dead after a few days in hospital, having sustained at least two gunshot wounds.

Police spokesperson Senior Inspector Mpiti Mopeli told Public Eye that investigations were ongoing but would not give any other details. He only confirmed Tšehlana had reportedly succumbed to wounds and died on Wednesday evening. According to reports, the deceased had been part of a political concert held in Mokhotlong ahead of the Democratic Congress (DC) rally last Sunday.

He was reportedly lured outside the venue by some known personalities where he was shot at by unknown gunmen who immediately fled the scene. Tšehlana took over the leadership of a faction of Terene after the death of its founder and leader, Rethabile ‘Mosotho’ Chakela, who died late last year.

He was, however, only accepted by a section of the movement which is at the moment split into two camps aligned to the ruling partners the DC and the All Basotho Convention (ABC). His death has been interpreted in multiple ways with one version attributing the murder to the never-ending power struggles in the Terene movement as well as the persistent hostilities between famo groups and gangs made up of Basotho hustlers working in and outside the country.

Tšehlana was quoted in one of the local newspapers at the height of killings between warring famo groups in 2018 at an ABC public gathering claiming Terene members were killed by some of their comrades who were befriending some government ministers. “Day in and out we are being killed by some of our people who are with us right here and they are busy befriending ministers,” Tšehlana was quoted as having said.

Speaking to Public Eye, media personality and a friend of the deceased, Lebohang Maketa, said Tšehlana was a true leader. “I knew Tšehlana for a very long time for I was a friend of Chakela. That was between 2005 and 2006,” said Maketa. “Tšehlana was a true leader. When he failed to understand something he would simply not tolerate it.” Maketa said even Chakela would testify that if Tšehlana did not understand something then you must know that it did not make sense.

“Tšehlana was a deep, critical thinker. He did not react immediately to situations. He was not troublesome, but was a down-to-earth person.” Maketa said further said: “Terene has really lost an important member in Tšehlana.” Tšehlana was a member of the DC after he joined the party when his late leader, Chakela, moved from ABC to the DC. “He was originally from Qacha’s Nek but he was staying in Maseru with his wife and children,” Maketa said. Tšehlana was a government employee working as a driver for the Ministry of Home Affairs in Qacha’s Nek.

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