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Leokaoke’s tricky dilemma




MASERU – A top cricket player and football midfield maestro all at once. That is the wonderful dilemma facing Lebona Leokaoke. For many multi-talented people, choosing a career path can be a daunting decision.
This was the scenario that Leokaoke, 33, of Teya-Teyaneng was faced with at some point in his life.

Talented in two sporting disciplines, Leokaoke had to face the reality of choosing which of the two dreams to chase. Leokaoke is regarded as one of the best performing cricket players Lesotho has ever produced, having played locally and abroad.

But besides being a cricket player, he is a fantastic football player, a midfield maestro who, when given a chance, performs wonders in the field of play. His affiliation to these two diverse sporting codes emerged while growing up in the vibrant streets of Teya-Teyaneng.

“Initially, like any other boy who grew up in Lesotho, soccer is a sport which I got introduced to at an early age.

“Throughout my primary education, I always had the opportunity to play soccer with my age mates and peers in the dusty streets of Teya-Teyaneng.

“We would utilise any vacant plot of land around the village to set up small informal soccer pitches where we would play.

“This is where I became a soccer wonder kid that I even earned a nickname ‘Shakes Khungwane’. I was a very skilful player and always did magic with the ball,” he said.

Being a football player was however short lived, thanks to his progression to high school. The sports policy which was set at his new high school was out of sync with his early childhood sport, soccer.

“Unfortunately when I enrolled at Assumption High School at the age of 13 in 2002, matters changed. Our principal, who was one of the officials of Cricket Lesotho, had made it mandatory for all Form As to take part in cricket.

“I involuntarily took part in cricket. This was a blessing in disguise because I performed just as well as I used to with soccer.

“I began to love and enjoy cricket and quickly developed a strong passion for it. I won several gold medals as a player in high school tournaments,” he said.

So far in his cricket career, Leokaoke has played for a number of teams both in Lesotho and South Africa. He has also added several accolades to his name in the world of cricket.

“From as early as 2007 I was selected to join the junior national team which took part in the Four Nations tournament in Bloemfontein. Upon my return, I joined Fedetia Cricket Club.

“In 2008, I moved to Roma for a university degree where I joined the National University of Lesotho team, NUL Vampires.

“In 2009, I played my first intervarsity games against Botswana and Eswatini university teams and won a gold medal.

“The following year we won another gold medal at the intervarsity games.”

“The teams which I played for in Lesotho include Maseru United Cricket Club, which was a multiracial team consisting of players from India, Sri Lanka, Lesotho and the Philippines.

“I also played for Tigers Cricket Club, Bails Cricket Club and while in South Africa I played for Moratuwa Cricket Club, Ficksburg United Club and Upcoming Young Stars club,” he said.

Besides being a player, Leokaoke has taken up a coaching role at Cricket Lesotho’s development structures.

“In 2014, I helped organise a camp for over 80 kids in Leribe for four days and we taught them all aspects of cricket and life skills.

“In 2015, I became the NUL Vampires ladies’ team coach in Botswana and won a gold medal and I became part of Basotho IX team that went to Randfontein, South Africa, as a player coach and a captain.

“Because of our performance, we were invited for the Triune championship in Swannaville, South Africa.

“The same year, I organised a camp in Mafeteng where over forty kids attended,” he said

Leokaoke’s cabinet boasts of a number of trophies which he earned through hard work and dedication. These include four best batsman trophies, one player of the series trophy, one best bowler trophy, eleven gold medals, three silver medals and one bronze medal.

“This is really outstanding for a player from an uncommon sport in Lesotho. The highlight of my career in cricket is playing in the triune championship in Swanaville.

“I scored over half a century and took six wickets. It’s a tough feat to achieve,” he said.

Ever since being attached to cricket, Leokaoke has had a soft spot for the sport and believes that it is a sport which teaches decency.

“Cricket teaches respect and above all general discipline. From a young age, people are taught to be disciplined. This ethos is upheld in cricket because players are taught to be respectful and friendly towards the equipment they use.

“For example, if a cricket player roughly throws away a cricket bat they get fined. This helps people to live in harmony with others,” he said.

Leokaoke hails cricket for positively shaping the character and behaviour of players in a number of ways.

“Foremost, in order to eliminate your opponent you need six balls per over and it only takes sharpness and tactics to know when it’s the right time to strike or not to strike.

“In the Test games, from the essence of the word ‘test’, this is where one’s determination, patience and abilities to resist what is com

Calvin Motekase

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[BREAKING NEWS] Lebona sets curfew



MASERU– In an effort to curb the rampant increase of homicides in Lesotho, the Minister of Police Lebona Lephema has announced a 10:00pm-4:00am curfew, effective Tuesday May 16, 2023. Failure to comply with the curfew attracts a 2 years imprisonment or a fine.

Staff Reporter

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Two nurses deleted for misconduct



MASERU – A Kolonyama midwife, ’Mamalibeng Ralenkoane, who allegedly neglected a woman during labour has been deleted from the nurses’ register for the next six months.

The woman went on to deliver her baby by herself without professional assistance.

In another case the secretary-general of the Lesotho Nursing Council (LNC), ’Mamonica Makhoswonke Mokhesi, has also been deleted for violating a patient’s privacy.

The LNC’s disciplinary chairman, Advocate Rapapa Sepiriti, said Ralenkoane had committed an act of serious misconduct and deserved severe punishment.

Advocate Sepiriti ruled that Ralenkoane “should not be seen anywhere attending (to) patients”.

Ralenkoane was working as a midwife at the Little Flower Health Centre in Kolonyama, Leribe, when ’Mateboho Letlala was admitted there for labour in August 2020.

Letlala told the panel that Ralenkoane took her to the examination room and later left her despite that there were signs that she could give birth anytime.

“At 19:00 pm Ralenkoane examined the patient but left her unattended and the patient had to deliver on her own,” Advocate Sepiriti said in his verdict.

“Clearly the blame has to be put at the door of Ralenkoane,” he said.

Adv. Sepiriti ruled that she should be deleted with immediate effect for 12 months, half of which was suspended.

“During these six months period, Ralenkoane is prohibited in any way from attending patients and this judgment should be delivered at her place of work,” he said.

Letlala in her testimony said by the time Ralenkoane arrived, she was already having severe labour pains and was told to go to the labour ward for assessment.

She said when she stepped down the labour bed Ralenkoane said to her: “Ua seke ua tatela ho hema empa molomo oa popelo o buleile ka 3cm’ (meaning she seemed to be in a hurry yet the cervix had opened by 3cm only).

“I was so surprised because I could feel I was very close to delivering because this was my second child and I could say I have experience,” she said.

She said she told the nurse that she needed to use the toilet but was instructed to use a pan instead.

“As she left me on the bed pan I could not stand from the pan as the pains were severe. I called for help but to no avail,” she said.

She said the moment she got energy to stand from the bed pan she saw blood, she called her but there was no response.

“Ralenkoane promised to come after two hours but there were no instructions on what to do in case I needed help prior to two hours,” she said.

“I wheeled myself to the bed and sat on it, still calling to no avail.”

She said while still alone, her membranes raptured and the time of birth came and the baby was delivered.

“The child did not fall as I was able to hold him,” she said.

She phoned her aunt who told her to find s scissor to cut the umbilical cord.

She said she bled a lot and ran out of energy, then Ralenkoane arrived at around midnight.

“When she came in she asked where the baby was and I pointed to where I had put him where he clamped the cord,” she said.

She said it was then that she got assistance.

The investigator for Professional Conduct Committee (PCC), one Nteso, told Advocate Sepiriti that his findings were that “the mother’s life was in danger as she was found having bled heavily and tired and the baby’s life was also in danger from prolonged exposure which could lead to hypothermia and brain damage”.

“Ralenkoane was not there for the mother until she delivered in the absence of the midwife, this is a case of negligence,” he said.

However, in mitigation Ralenkoane said this was her first time to appear before the panel and has been a nurse for more than nine years.

She said she has two children to support and she has already been punished by the clinic as she was dismissed and that she has policies and loans.

She pleaded with the panel to have mercy on her.

In another case Mokhesi who was the Secretary General of LNC was also deleted from the register for two years after she was found guilty of sharing a patient’s picture on social media without their consent.

She was accused of defamation of character and violating the patient’s privacy by posting pictures of the injuries he had incurred.

’Malimpho Majoro

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Nurses back at work



MASERU -NURSES who have been on strike since Monday are set to resume work this morning after the government started paying their salaries.

The nurses went on a go-slow last week but escalated to a full-fledged strike on Monday after the government delayed their salaries. Some nurses claimed they had not been paid since March.

Morephe Santi, the secretary general of the Lesotho Nurses’ Association (LNA), said they have started telling members to go back to work after the government said the salaries will start reflecting in their accounts last night.

The strike has inflicted huge reputational damage on Prime Minister Sam Matekane’s government which came to power on promises of efficiency.

Minister of Public Service Richard Ramoeletsi blamed the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) and the Human Resource Management System (HRMS) for the delay in April salaries.

Ramoeletsi told parliament last week that the two financial management systems were unable to reconcile, leading to delays in salaries.

But that explanation was little consolation for patients who bore the brunt of the strike.

At least 20 expectant mothers at Machabeng Hospital in Qacha’s Nek were told to go home because nurses could not help them.

Some of the women were later admitted at Tebellong Hospital, a facility under the Christian Health Association of Lesotho (CHAL).

“We were staying at the hospital’s roundavel awaiting our time to go to labour but on Thursday afternoon (last week we were called by the nurses and they told us to go to other hospitals or go back home,” said Maretlotliloe Mpeli, who is heavily pregnant.

She said the nurses told them that they could not work on empty stomachs.

’Matlotla Poling, 19, from Ha-Rankakala said she had to call her parents because she did not have any money to either go back home or to Tebellong Hospital.

The Machabeng Hospital management declined to comment, referring thepost to the ministry’s headquarters in Maseru.

Ministry of Health spokesperson, ’Mateboho Mosebekoa, said Machabeng Hospital “did not expel the expecting mothers but merely sent them back home”.

“Due to the ongoing strike by doctors countrywide …they decided to take those women to the places where they would get help,” Mosebekoa said.

There was similar anguish at Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital.

“The strike has affected all the departments including the kitchen, maternity, and emergencies, but the managers are on duty,” said ’Makananelo Sepipi, the hospital’s spokesperson.

Sepipi said managers were forced to hold the forte “because some sections cannot be left unattended utterly due to their importance”.

“The operations are happening in the emergency section, even though they do not operate in a normal way.”

She said patients whose operations were scheduled for this week were sent back home.

Santi, the LNA’s secretary general, blamed the government for the chaos caused by the strike.

Santi said as much as the government likes to call them an essential service they do not prioritise their ministry.

“They do not appreciate us, it is like they do not see the importance of our job,” Santi said.

“The government turns a blind eye to the fact that our working environment alone can put us at risk of contracting diseases.”

“Now we are not able to buy food and other necessities.”

Nkheli Liphoto & Thooe Ramolibeli

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