Minister in the prime minister’s office, Temeki Tšolo, has made an appalling remark in support to police brutality this week.
“Shoot them, we will collect their corpses,” the Mafeteng legislator under Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC) banner instructed the district’s police on Thursday.
Tšolo, who has been labelled ‘a loose cannon’ in some quarters for his carefree character, was addressing scores of Makaota – affectionate name for the Mafeteng people – gathered for the prime minister’s message at the town’s Pitso Ground.
Over the years, Mafeteng has been notorious of Famo related vicious gang wars that have resulted in countless deaths.
Tšolo’s statement was supposed to lay foundation for Dr Thabane’s message the Government Secretary Moahloli Mphaka abridged as “government achievements, challenges and road map going forward.”
Thabane’s visit to Mafeteng on Thursday marked the start of his envisioned tours throughout the country’s ten districts to brief the citizens.
But Tšolo took a leap that contradicted the premier’s objective.
With a vigorous tone, the minister confidently instructed the Mafeteng police to “cock the guns” and “shoot to kill”.
“Le ba thunye fela banna re tla ba phutha,” meaning; “shoot them, we will collect their corpses,” he said.
Prior to the statements, Tšolo raised a concern of high criminal circuits in the district, noting the vicious gangsterism and robberies, among the top list. He said attacks and theft targeting major businesses rapidly affects the district’s economic growth.
Tšolo pleaded with Premier Thabane to consider re-opening of the Mafeteng industrial firms, which he outlined as a major tool to reduce the high unemployment in the district.
The public gathering, graced with traditional songs and dances by the district’s pupils, was followed by a closed meeting of Thabane with the Mafeteng police and community councilors at the town’s police station.