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Controvertial soldier moved to Catering Unit

SHARE   |   Friday, 22 April 2016   |   By Phillimon Mmeso
Controvertial soldier moved to Catering Unit

Botswana Defence Force (BDF) has acted swiftly and removed a lady officer who is traditionally married to Lesotho’s controversial commander of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Special Forces Command Lieutenant Colonel Tefo Hashatsi. Information gathered by this publication has revealed that Lieutenant Pauline Galeatle, who was based at Thebephatshwa Airbase as a member of the Special Forces, was early this year transferred to Francistown and deployed in the Agriculture and Catering Unit at Donga military base as security caution. She was earlier sent to Glen Valley but the army hierarchy somersaulted and transferred her to Francistown. Last year Hashatsi paid bogadi to Lieutenant Galeatle’s family in Molepolole and the two have a child who is less than a year old, The Patriot has established. Early this year, BDF Commander Lieutenant General Gaolathe Galebotswe is said to have rejected an application by Galeatle to be married to Colonel Hashatsi, one of the most influential persons in the Lesotho politics.

The reason for the rejection of the application is said to have been on security grounds as Hashatsi is a commander of the Special Forces in Lesotho. In Lesotho the government and the army gave Colonel Hashatsi a green light to marry his long time sweetheart. Recently Lesotho’s Minister of Defence and National Security Tšeliso Mokhosi said the marriage won’t compromise national security. He was quoted in one of Lesotho newspapers, saying Hashatsi followed all the customary procedures and paid lobola and will legally get married. Lesotho’s defence minister said that LDF and BDF regulations did not forbid cross-border marriages. However, former Commander of the BDF Ground Forces Command retired Major General Pius Mokgware said though the BDF Act is silent on fraternisation, for security reasons it is not advisable to allow such marriage. “If at all she has to resign from the army because she is being married to a senior army officer who is also head of special forces and knows what communication between a couple can lead to,” said General Mokgware.

He said the relationship is very untidy and can compromise the national security and that Colonel Hashatsi will have to apply before he enters Botswana. Though LDF Commander gave Hashatsi green light to marry Galeatle, Mokgware said in serious armies that could not have been allowed. Mokgware said people have to understand that when one joins the army he/she forfeits some of his/her rights. “Even myself as a retired officer before I visit another country I had to apply and state the purpose of the visit,” he said. The two lovebirds are said to have met in Tanzania during their training. Hashatsi is one of the army officers implicated in the assassination of former LDF commander Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao. The findings of Phumaphi report recommended that he be removed from LDF. In December last year, Hashatsi made an urgent court application in Lesotho to have the Commission set aside and to prevent it from making any findings in relation to him. He argued that the Commission was unlawful and had operated in a procedurally flawed and prejudicial manner. Hashatsi has been implicated in the operation leading to Mahao’s killing and was called to testify before the Commission. According to Southern African Litigation Centre when he first appeared in court, Colonel Hashatsi was uniformed and armed but on the second day he came unarmed but was escorted by an armed officer. His case was dismissed by Lesotho High Court in February this year. Efforts to get comment from BDF were futile as they did not respond to a questionnaire that was sent to them.