‘I’m not Makhaola Qalo’

‘I’m not Makhaola Qalo’

MASERU – A Mafeteng man whose picture is used as the face on the controversial Facebook page that exposes rot in the government says his life had been destroyed.
Matsepe Leballo claims his image is used as the profile picture of shadowy Facebook group calling itself Makhaola Qalo.
The group whose founders and administrators are not known has been exposing corruption and other misdeeds in government and the private sector for the past few years.
It has leaked confidential government documents as well as named and shamed senior officials.
Leballo says he had nothing to do with the group.

He says because his picture is used prospective employers have been rejecting him for the past four years.
“My life has been ruined by this Facebook account because everybody thinks I am Makhaola Qalo,” says Leballo, a father of one.
He says he discovered that his image was being used when he was doing his final year at the National University of Lesotho (NUL) in 2014.
“I was still writing my examinations by then and I decided to report it to the police station in January 2015.”

The Criminal Investigation Division in Mafeteng referred him to the head office in Maseru.
“Since 2015 I went to the police several times and was promised help until the end of last year when I was told this issue is hard to solve.”
He says several companies have told him that he is too controversial for their image because of his perceived association with Makhaola Qalo.
“Whenever it is time for interviews they tell me that they are worried about the image of the company”.

“They actually associate me with the Facebook account.”
Leballo has a degree in Education. Out of options he volunteered at a non-governmental organisation in Mafeteng.

He lasted a few months as the acting deputy president and head of department of nutrition before the organisation asked him to leave “because they said my picture in the Facebook account tarnished their image.”

“Everywhere I go people ask me why I created that account not knowing that someone just took my picture and set it as their profile picture.”
Leballo says the page has destroyed his image and his family.

“I am a family man with a wife and a son. They have to live with the fact that I am being implicated as Makhaola Qalo.”
“I deserve a chance like any other Mosotho citizen, I need a job to support my family and it becomes harder and harder every day.”
Leballo is pleading with the group’s administrators to remove his picture.

The government is keen to find out the people behind Makhaola Qalo.
The joint investigation by the police, army military intelligence and the National Security Service (NSS) has not yielded anything.
In April 2016 the police arrested two men, Lira Moeti and Mohato Seleke (the current CEO of the Lesotho National Development Corporation) linking them with the Facebook account.
However, the police failed to produce evidence that the men were linked with the account and had to release them without any charges.

Nkheli Liphoto

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