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A distinct famo music group



MASERU – TŠEPANG Makakole is proud to lead a small famo music group that he claims has not experienced bloodshed.

Makakole, popularly known as Nyaka-Nyaka (Hurly-Burly), established the Lekhotla-la-Nyaka-Nyaka in 1995 when he was still a young man and still a greenhorn in the famo music genre.

“We have been in existence for 27 years and we have never experienced violence, something that is unheard of in any famo music gang,” said Makakole.

Makakole is a man of many talents. He is a radio personality with Mo-Afrika FM, an artiste and unionist.

His group, Lekhotla la Nyaka-Nyaka is a famo outfit strictly focusing on recruiting famo artistes.

“We are focusing on recruiting and promoting artistes to produce music as a source of living.

“Women and men who are artistes from all over the country are welcome to join this association,” he said.

No other artistes from other music genres have joined his group.

Like other famo music groups, Lekhotla-la-Nyaka-Nyaka has a distinct attire that differentiates it from other groups. Members wear red blankets and white gumboots with red soles.

Women members have their own attire — a red half waist seshoeshoe dress with red collar shirts.

The red colour is usually associated with the Mohale’s Hoek district.

But Makakole says his group is “for all the people who understand its principles irrespective of the district they come from”. Nyaka-Nyaka hails from Mohale’s Hoek district in Mekaling, Phatlalla.

Formed in 1995, the group has not registered any death resulting from the raging famo violence that has wreaked havoc both in Lesotho and South Africa, claimed Makakole.

“Our principles as a group have saved us from violent tendencies that continue to rock the famo music industry. We do not produce music that is manifested with rivalry.

“Instead our songs are romantic or based on socio-economic hardships. We do not sing about other singers, either criticising or praising them,” Makakole said.

His most popular song is “Serurubele mpepe,” a romantic song depicting him riding on the back of a beautiful butterfly that carries him to the love of his heart.

The rhythm on all his songs are far from most famo tunes from the southern part of the country, where the genre is marked by makhele, the kind of songs that promote violence or mostly complain about acts of a rival gang.

“We do not respond if someone provokes us in their songs. We pretend as if nothing has happened,” he said.

“Before anyone can join our group, we sit down with them and share the principles of the group.

“We tell them about our code of conduct so that they understand how the group is run,” said Makakole.

Among other tenets, those joining members are told to avoid alcohol when going to functions, especially burials.

“Even after the functions, those who drink should not do so in public spaces. We try as much as possible to avoid things that can irritate the public,” said Makakole, adding that the group leaders encourage members to steer clear of criminal activities and instead work hard to put bread on the table.

No money is needed as subscription fee for one to join this famo music group. The group does not offer any financial assistance to members who wish to record their music.

Makakole said he formed the famo music group just for the love of the famo music.

“I actually started to sing when I formed Lekhotla la Nyaka-Nyaka in 1995, he said.

Another prominent famo artiste who is a member of his stable is Lempe Leteketa, also known as Boima (Heaviness) from Tajane in Mafeteng but originally from Mantšonyane in the Thaba-Tseka district.

“But there are hordes of members who are just ordinary members drawn from all over the country. We do not have members who are in South Africa so far,” he said.

Members in many famo gangs, widely known as Zama-Zamas, are known to be illegal gold diggers who work in disused mines in South Africa.

Makakole said they have one member who was a good singer who defected to form his own famo group because he did not like the type of music promoted by the Lekhotla la Nyaka-Nyaka group.

That man, he said, loves Makhele songs “not the type of music we sing”.

Makakole’s songs are enjoyed more by women who dance to them in the way they do litolobonya, a form of song and dance exclusively for girls and married women.

Litolobonya is exclusive to women because it gives them a platform, at the onset of motherhood, to express their sexuality and share their innermost concerns with other women without fear of being judged, according to Malefane Soai’s article titled “Litolobonya music in Lesotho”.

Many such famo musicians whose songs are mostly enjoyed by women because they enable them to dance their litolobonya include Lebohang Letšohla, Apollo Ntabanyane, the late Lampi le Lehlohonolo, the late Mosia and the late Abiel Hatlane who was also a gospel songster.

Makakole said he did not join other famo groups that were already in operation because he believes he has leadership skills to lead his own group.

“I was born a leader. Joining other famo gang groups would have frustrated me,” he said.

He said one of the major challenges faced by famo artistes is that people are not buying their music on the shelves.

“This is a challenge that affects almost all the artistes.

“Today, artistes spend more money to produce music and get nothing in return,” lamented Makakole.

Makakole said most of their music is pirated.

“It is expensive to go to the studio to record music yet artistes are wallowing in poverty and pain because of people who steal their music,” he said.

Makakole said there are times when he gets angry at people who keep on provoking his artistes with insults because of the soft famo music they present to their audience.

“Some artistes from other famo gangs can insult you for just produce pure music,” Makakole said.

Majara Molupe

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MP defies party, backs opposition



MOHLOMINYANE Tota, the only MP for the United for Change (UFC), has defied the party’s order to stop voting with the opposition in parliament.
Tota, the UFC’s deputy leader, told thepost this week that he will vote, guided by his own conscience, and not the party’s instructions.

His defiance comes after the party publicly chastised him for voting with the opposition in parliament.
A fightnight ago, Tota angered his party when he sided with the opposition to vote against the government’s motion to continue discussing the reforms’ Omnibus Bill despite that it was being challenged in the Constitutional Court.

The government however won with 57 votes against the opposition’s 50.
The UFC issued a statement reprimanding Tota for defying its decision to always vote with the government.
But Tota told thepost this week that he was unfazed by the party’s warning.

“I will continue to vote with the opposition where need be, and I will also vote with the government where need be,” Tota said.
He said he respects the party’s position but “I also have a right to follow my conscience”.

This, he added, is because “it is not mandatory for an MP to toe the party line even when his conscience does not allow it”.
He said whether he will vote with the government or the opposition will depend “on the issue on the table”.
He said his conscience would not allow him to vote with the government on the Omnibus Bill motion.

“It was wrong,” Tota said.
“I will do the same again given another chance.”

Tota’s response comes three days after the UFC issued a statement distancing itself from his stance in parliament.
The party said its national executive committee had an urgent meeting over the weekend to discuss Tota’s behaviour.
It said its position is to always support Prime Minister Sam Matekane’s coalition government.

“‘The issue has caused a lot of confusion in the party and among Basotho at large,” the statement reads.

The party also said Tota did not bother to inform the national executive committee about his decision so that he could get a new mandate.

“He did not even inform the committee before voting,” the statement reads.
“The national executive committee held an intensive meeting with Tota about the matter because the purpose of the party is to support the government,” it reads.
The UFC said where the government goes wrong “the party will continue to confront it with peace and not with a fight” (sic).

“We have confidence in the current government because it was voted in by Basotho.”
The UFC’s statement makes it clear that the party “will not support anything against the government”.

Nkheli Liphoto

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Inside plot to oust Matekane



THE plot to topple Prime Minister Sam Matekane thickened this week amid allegations of brazen vote-buying ahead of the opposition’s planned vote of no-confidence.

The opposition is said to be ready to push out Matekane when parliament reopens sometime in September. They accuse Matekane’s government of incompetence, nepotism, corruption and using the security forces to harass opposition MPs.

But as the lobbying and touting of MPs reaches fever pitch, there are now allegations of each side using bribes to secure votes crucial in the vote to remove the government.
Democratic Congress leader, Mathibeli Mokhothu, this week accused the government of bribing its MPs to defeat the motion against Matekane.

Mokhothu, who made the allegations at the opposition’s press conference yesterdday, did not give further details or names of those bribed and those bribing.
But on Monday, the Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) MP, Puseletso Lejone, told thepost that Mokhothu offered him a M2.2 million bribe to support the opposition’s motion to upend the government.

Lejone said Mokhothu made the offer at a secret meeting, attended by almost all opposition leaders on August 14, at Monyane Moleleki’s house in Qoatsaneng.
The Thaba Moea MP said the leaders claimed that 60 MPs were supporting the motion against Matekane and wanted his vote to make it 61.

“The money was to come directly from Mokhothu,” Lejone said.
“They asked me to provide them with my bank account so that they could transfer the money.”
Mokhuthu denied the allegations, saying he wondered if Lejone “was smoking socks”.

Lejone repeated the same allegations on the sidelines of yesterday’s press conference where Matekane assured Basotho that his government has enough numbers to fend off the opposition’s attempt to push him out.
He said apart from Moleleki and Mokhothu, other political leaders who attended the meeting were Lekhetho Rakuoane, Machesetsa Mofomobe, Nkaku Kabi, Professor Nqosa Mahao, Teboho Mojapela, Tefo Mapesela and Tšepo Lipholo.

He said the leaders gave him a document showing that six RFP MPs had pledged to support the vote of no confidence. Lejone however refused to name the RFP MPs, saying he still wants them to remain in the ruling party.
He said four MPs from parties in the RFP-led coalition had signed.

They are Mohlominyane Tota (UFC), Reverend Paul Masiu (BAENA), Mokoto Hloaele (AD) and Motlalepula Khahloe (MEC).
The deal, Lejone said, was that Mokhutho would become prime minister and be deputised by Dr Mahali Phamotse.
He said the RFP’s faction was going to be rewarded with 10 ministerial seats for their role in toppling Matekane.
Nearly all the political leaders mentioned by Lejone denied attending the meeting at Moleleki’s house.

“By the living God, I have never been in a meeting with that man (Lejone),” Mokhothu said, adding that Lejone’s allegations are “defamatory”.

Mahao said he last visited Moleleki’s house, which is up the road from his, 22 years ago. Mofomobe said Lejone is lying about the meeting because he wants to curry favour with Matekane, whom he had been criticising for months.
Mofomobe said all his meetings with Lejone were at the BNP Centre and their agenda was toppling Matekane.

“We were discussing his (Matekane) incapability to rule this country,” Mofomobe said.

Rakuoane and Mapesela said they have never been to Moleleki’s house.
So did Kabi who implied that Lejone could have smoked something intoxicating “to talk about a meeting that never happened”.
Lipholo, Rev Masiu, and Tota said they were not at that meeting while Moleleki said he had “no comment”.

Staff Reporter

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Matekane abusing state agencies, says opposition



THE opposition has accused the government of weaponising security agencies to harass and intimidate their MPs.
The accusations come as the opposition plots to push a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Sam Matekane when parliament re-opens in September.

Opposition leaders told a press conference yesterday that the government has resorted to using the army and the police against its MPs because it is afraid of the motion.
Democratic Congress (DC) leader, Mathibeli Mokhothu, said the security bosses have been willing tools for the government because their bosses are desperate for Matekane to renew their employment contracts.

He was talking about Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli, army boss Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela and National Security Service (NSS) boss Pheello Ralenkoane.

“Employment contracts for the security agencies’ bosses are the ones causing these problems because the commanders end up working towards pleasing the government for their contract extension,” Mokhothu said.

He said the army has also started setting up roadblocks closer to parliament to search MPs. Mokhothu said the army searched Nkaku Kabi and Advocate Lebohang Maema KC at the parliament premises last week.

“The government is now bringing back the security agencies into party politics,” Mokhothu said.
“This was the first time the army entered the parliament premises to search members and other people there. It is an embarrassment.”
“The responsibility of our soldiers is to guard the borders and ensure security, not to enter politics or set up roadblocks on the parliament roads.”
“They are now running the country like a shop or a company.”

Basotho National Party leader, Machesetsa Mofomobe, alleged that Matekane had a meeting with the security bosses in Teya-teyaneng to discuss how they could use their institutions to clip the opposition’s wings.

“The LDF, LMPS and NSS boss’s contracts have expired, and now they are using the institution to get extensions,” Mofomobe said.
“The LDF and LMPS are doing this deliberately to protect the government.”
thepost could not independently verify this allegation.

Tefo Mapesela, the Basotho Progressive Party leader, said Matekane’s government is taking Lesotho back to 2014 when the army was wooed into politics.
He warned that officers who allow themselves to be used as pawns in political fights might find themselves in jail while their political handlers enjoy freedom.
He referred to Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli who has been in remand prison for seven years as he faces charges of murder, attempted murder and treason.
Mapesela however said the opposition will not be intimidated because it is their democratic right to bring a motion of no confidence against the government.

“When there is time to enter a motion of no confidence it is time, it is written in the law, there is nothing wrong there,” Mapesela said.
“I once launched a motion of no confidence in the previous parliament, but I was never arrested or threatened.”

“We do not owe Matekane anything. When the time has come he has to go. We will lobby others as it is not a crime.”

The Basotho Action Party’s Nqosa Mahao criticised the police for issuing a press statement with political undertones.

In a controversial statement last week, Commissioner Molibeli said the police were aware that some MPs were coercing their colleagues to support their plot to topple the government.
Molibeli also said they were aware that such MPs were surrounding themselves with armed groups.

“Police warn those perpetrating these acts to stop immediately to avoid action that could be taken to protect the country,” Molibeli said.

Matekane made the same allegations at his press conference yesterday.
Professor Mahao said the statement shows that the police have now been entangled in politics.

“Every time parties experience internal problems the leaders conspire with the security agencies,” he said.
“The opposition leaders are now being harassed because the government wants to stop them from exercising their rights.”

The opposition’s charge sheet against Matekane

  •  Filling of statutory positions despite the reforms aiming to change the system.
  • Corruption
  • Nepotism
  • Using security agencies to deter MPs from ousting Matekane.
  • Job losses.
  • Lack of job creation.
  • Failure to fulfil campaign promises.
  • Protecting mining companies’ interests at the expense of Basotho.
  • Incompetence and lack of communication skills.
  • Arrest of MPs by the police.
  • Cherry-picking reforms that insulate his government.

Staff Reporter

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