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Cousins clash over estate

’Mathapelo Letsepe

MASERU — They might just be a couple of broken bricks and a slab but they tell a shocking story of the lengths human beings can go to control what they own.
Until a month ago there stood a house on this slab and Maleabua Qhesi lived here with her son.
All was well until her cousin, Motlalentoa Qhesi, started demanding that she leaves the house because he wanted to do some renovations.
Maleabua had been given the place by Motlalentoa’s parents.
Maleabua’s mother and Motlalentoa’s father were siblings.
When his parents died Motlalentoa inherited everything they owned, including the house that Maleabua was living in.
This was according to the will that his parents left.
A few months ago Motlalentoa approached Maleabua and told her that he wanted to take possession of the house.
Maleabua refused, saying she needed more time to look for another place to stay. 
“He said he wanted to renovate the house but I did not have anywhere to go,” Maleabua told the Sunday Express.
She said Motlalentoa continued trying to push her out but she insisted that she needed more time.
Two months ago Motlalentoa’s patience ran thin.
He unroofed the house in a bid to force Maleabua to leave.
Maleabua said she had visited another village when it happened.
She said although she understood that the house belonged to Motlalentoa she did not agree with the “extreme measures” he was taking to kick her out.
Still Maleabua and her son remained in the house.
“We had nowhere to go so we continued staying here even though the house had no roof,” she said when the Sunday Express visited her on Wednesday. 
After failing to get Maleabua out of the house, Motlalentoa then decided to do more damage to the house.
He removed the doors and the windows, Maleabua said. 
But Maleabua refused to vacate.
“I said nothing to him,” she said. “I was afraid he would beat me.”
A month ago Motlalentoa made what he thought was the final move to get Maleabua out.
He knocked down the walls of the house, leaving Maleabua and her son in the open.
“I am his cousin. How can he be so selfish?” she said.
“He knows that I do not have a husband and he could have just felt pity for me.”
For the past month Maleabua and her son have been sleeping in the open.
When the Sunday Express visited the place her pots, plates and clothes were strewn all over.
She said since the house was destroyed she started sleeping under a table in case it rained but this too angered Motlalentoa.
About two weeks ago Motlalentoa went for Maleabua’s last form of “shelter”: the table.
He said the table belonged to him because it was part of his inheritance, according to Maleabua.
“We used the table as our shelter. We felt protected under it,” she said.
“I do not know what will happen to my family.”
And with the rains fast coming, Maleabua’s plight is even more desperate.
“I always think of what will happen if it rains,” she said.
Maleabua said their life was at risk because anything could happen because they sleep outside.
She said on Tuesday she slept at a neighbour’s house because she thought it was going rain.
But that doesn’t seem to bother Motlalentoa.
“I am the inheritor. Everything belongs to me. I am not the one saying that . . . my mother said so,” Qhesi told the Sunday Express angrily.
Motlalentoa produced a will registered under No 47/2004. 
“I do not know what the parents were looking at when they appointed (me the heir), but it’s me they appointed.” he said.
He said Maleabua had only been allowed to stay in the house for a few months.
 “It was for temporary use,” Motlalentoa said.
He said he had tried several times to tell close relatives that ’Maleabua had to find somewhere to stay.
“Some family members agreed with me and others did not,” he said.
Motlalentoa said he thought if he destroyed the house Maleabua would be forced to look for alternative shelter.
“I thought she would find a room to use, but she has not,” he said.
“I cannot do anything if she does not find any accommodation for her family.”

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