The sweet smell of revenge

The sweet smell of revenge

….Fed-up villagers rise against heartless killer….

LERIBE – HIS first name means righteousness while his surname denotes a king. But it appears Molemo Khosi was far from any of those that when he died at the hands of fellow villagers. The community simply went into a frenzy of festivity.
Some villagers ululated in celebration when Khosi was killed last week, a sign of how he may have become a menace in the community.

Once jailed for stabbing his own wife to death, the now late 33-year-old man who was born and raised in Khanyane in Leribe district just over 100 kilometres north of Maseru, was feared as a heartless murderer and street fighter.
Last week Tuesday, fed up neighbours killed him, torched his body before setting his parents’ house ablaze after he allegedly killed a local businessman and his brother the previous day.
Ngamla, as Khosi called himself, allegedly entered a local grocery shop and a bar where he allegedly instructed the bartender to play loud music from a jukebox.
Ngamla is South African township slang for boss.

As the music played, Khosi allegedly went to the bartender who was also the business owner, Sibongile Tshabalala, and shot him thrice in the chest.
He then turned to the bartender’s shocked brother, Koto Tshabalala, who was in the shop and shot him thrice on the head, according to witnesses.
“When he walked out of the shop he was not running and he seemed not worried that any man would attempt to arrest him,” a witness who opted to remain anonymous said.
“We were indeed afraid to arrest him because we feared him,” he said, adding: “Nobody dared to do anything, we were all afraid of him.”

In Lesotho, any person aged 16 years and above can legally effect a citizen’s arrest.
But in Khosi’s case, no one dared touch him after the murder of the businessman.
A man who grew up with Khosi but too afraid to be named claimed that Khosi once killed a fellow student when they were still at school.
“He was a bit older than us at 18 and he was the school bully, and he killed the student. He was arrested and sent to prison,” the man said.

Even his step-mother, his father’s first widow ’Mamallane Khosi, said “the family will breathe a sigh of relief now that this young man is no more”.
“I always feared him,” the step-mother said.
“He was walking in the footsteps of his father,” she said, declining to tell what the father had become before he died.
“His behaviour always scared me. He has done worse things in his life and I don’t think I should be alive myself today if not because of God.”

’Mamallane said she separated with her husband, Khosi’s father, because he was violent and people were afraid of him.
She said even Khosi’s mother was afraid of him.
Khosi’s mother is said to be working in Gauteng, South Africa.
‘Mamallane said she witnessed Khosi stab his wife to death “just near my yard”.
“The wife was leaving him for reasons known to them only but he could not allow her to leave and instead stabbed her to death,” ’Mamallane said.

“This boy told me that jail was his hotel and he was not afraid of anyone,” she said.
’Mamallane said she experienced “countless” encounters with Khosi that were unpleasant.
’Mamallane said her house was almost burned down by angry villagers because of Khosi’s behaviour and part of it caught fire.
She said the flames were doused after one of the villagers intervened saying “I was just an old woman who had nothing to do with Molemo’s behaviour and killings”.
Two women who were sitting with ’Mamallane at her home during the interview said the village will finally be at peace now that Khosi is no more.
“Everybody feared Molemo, a child, a mother, a father, old women and men,” one of the women said.

’Mamallane said prior to Khosi’s killing the businessman and his brother, he had beaten up his wife whom he married after killing the first one.
“We had to hide her in another house so that Molemo would not find her. The wife later went to hospital and opened an abuse case,” ’Mamallane said.
“We are finally going to rest,” she said.
The area chief of Khanyane, Malefetsane Moliboea, said he received a report that the Tshabalala brothers had been killed and he reported the murder to the police.

On the following day, Tuesday, the police were in his village looking for Khosi but he fled.
According to a report Chief Moliboea sent to the Principal Chief, Khosi was seen running up the Ntloana-Tšoana hill into a forest when he realised that police were on his heels.
At Ntloana-Tšoana High school, the police lost track of him.
Chief Moliboea said the police left the village thereafter.
“When the police had left, the villagers took it upon themselves to hunt him and they found him hidden in a cave on the slope of the Ntloana-Tšoana hill,” the chief said.
“They clobbered him to death and thereafter burnt him,” he said.

After burning Khosi, the villagers continued to go down the hill and burnt his parents’ three roomed house.
“The people were angry, they had had enough of this man who played God by taking people’s lives,” one of the neighbours said.
The villagers suspected that Khosi had been bought by a local widow to kill the Tshabalala brothers because she had a case with them in the courts.
So, out of anger they attacked the widow’s house and torched it together with her BMW car that was in the garage.
The widow whose identity is known to thepost was not at home when her house was burnt down.

Chief Moliboea told the Principal Chief of Leribe, Joel Motšoene, that Khosi was in and out of jail for various crimes that included “murders of several business people of this area, stock theft and house breaking”.
The chief also said his subject was suspected of famo gang violence crimes in 2016.
Police spokesman Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli confirmed that Khosi was known to law enforcement agents for his string of criminal cases.

Chief Moliboea held a public gathering after the incident and warned his subjects against taking the law into their own hands.
However, he reported that the irate residents of Khanyane told him that they were fed up with Khosi and it was good that he died.
He also told Principal Chief Motšoene in his report that the people said they were dissatisfied with the way the courts are handling criminal cases.

Khosi would frequently be arrested, taken to the courts but released on bail.
“The community said they are not satisfied with the justice system that bears no thought for those that have been hurt,” the chief said.
“Their biggest complaint is that Khosi has been arrested in connection with many killings of Khanyane businessmen, stock theft, house breaking and being part of the famo gang killings in 2016” Malefetsane said.
When the police came to the village to collect Khosi’s body, the villagers were ululating and dancing next to a police van.

Rose Moremoholo & Molise Molise


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