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From IT to fashion guru



THABA-TSEKA – A SKILL learnt in childhood is turning out to be a lifesaver for a 25-year-old woman after years of hunting for her dream job turned into a nightmare.
As a young girl, Mookho Pule was taught the art of tailoring by her mother, but it wasn’t really her career choice.
What she loved most was information technology and when the opportunity to pursue it arose, she grabbed it and enrolled at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology to study for a Honours Degree in Information Technology.

Job hunting didn’t turn out to be as rewarding. In 2019 she gave up and remembered the art of tailoring handed down to her by her mother. A rising star in the fashion business was born.
“I started focusing on fashion, graphic designing, make-up art, nail tech and hair dressing to make a living. But lately I am focusing on fashion design more than anything else,” she said of the venture.
She says she is beginning to enjoy life again after years of distress.
“Years of job-hunting without any luck forced me to give up even though some of my schoolmates got jobs immediately after graduation,” Pule recalled.

“I got depressed to an extent that I thought I had wasted four years of my life working for a qualification that I loved. It was not working for me,” she said.
Passionate about art, she says her new career path allows her to express herself in different aspects.
“I like creating things out of nothing and my work speaks for itself. I always do things beyond people’s imaginations, and I make sure I deliver good customer service and deliver on time. That’s how I beat competition,” she said, delight written all over her face.

“My ability to design attires that a lot of designers find tricky to do makes my work unique. And my good customer service makes people look at me differently.”
Pule, the brains behind the fast growing The Destiny brand, is now a designer to reckon with in Maseru.
The Destiny is an umbrella name for all the different services she provides.
“I came up with the name because it is a one-stop beauty shop. One gets the apparel and beauty, hence I say one has reached the destination, the world of everything related to beauty,” she said.

Raised by a single mother who worked hard to ensure that the family’s basic needs were covered through her tailoring business, Pule learnt the basics of sewing during her high school days.
“My mother worked hard every day to make us happy and that’s what shaped my thinking as a young woman. She taught me how to work hard for everything that I need.”

Pule made clothes for herself for quite some years and only went into fashion as a business in 2019.
“My first customers were my friends who told more people about my work. That’s when my business started to gain exposure and grow.
“My mission was to do my best and exceed the customers’ expectations by providing trendy, urban and stylish comfortable wear,” said Pule, who paid tribute to her family and friends for the “remarkable” emotional and financial support.

“They always recommend my work to people who need the services I offer,” she said, adding that many of her Facebook friends and clients also support her as they always share her work online.
Pule’s first sewing machine was a gift from her mother.
“I wanted one but didn’t have the money, so she gave me the sewing machine,” said Pule.

“I used to get less than five customers a month but now I have lost count. I have a lot of work, I don’t have a free day.”
“The thrill of trying new designs and getting them right motivates me and the confidence people have in me and the rate at which my business is growing pumps me up. It is growing faster than I expected,” gushed Pule.
She recalled a time when she couldn’t get a job she had high hopes for.
“I thought it was the end of the world, I just wanted to give up on everything.”

“But my family came together and bought me my second machine and showed me that being formally employed is not everything. They supported me to the extent of being my customers too.”
Growing up, she says she always wanted to be an engineer and fashion designing was just a hobby.

“Although I haven’t practised as an engineer yet, I am still content with my choice of pursuing fashion while planning my engineering venture.”
Pule said she studied engineering because she loves challenges, solving problems and IT engineering is mostly focused on problem-solving.
She said studying typewriting and computers back in high school helped nourish her love of IT engineering.

“When job-hunting failed, I opted for entrepreneurship because my mother always told me how nice it was being your own boss,” said Pule.
“She always encouraged me not to trouble myself with looking for employment because I would be making a lot of money for someone while I get the bread crumps in the form of a salary.”

She currently works alone but gets help from her friends occasionally.
In three years time, Pule sees herself having two or more employees and working in a bigger space making more money than she does now.
“My aspiration is to grow in business and financially, to make customers happy at all times so I have an accelerating cash flow.”

She says although she has sales experience from selling shear butter products and trout fish before Covid-19 hit, she faces several challenges.
Her major challenge is dealing with customers who change designs during the process of tailoring and having to start all over the entire process.
The other challenge, she says, is of customers who demand quick.
“I have had a couple of customers who would bring material and need their clothes the next day, putting me under a lot of pressure.”

She says being a fashion designer has affected her positively because her financial status has changed for the better.
On the other hand the workload denies her a social life.
“I even work overnight to get things done and my biggest fear is losing my customers due to failure to deliver what they want and on time. I always make sure I deliver.”

“Working in a quiet place helps me focus on my job. I enjoy working at night more than during the day because it’s quiet – no disruption of any kind.”
“Make money while they are sleeping, then enjoy it while they wake up to make it,” said Pule, stating that she has built a customer base through proper communication channels inclusive of social media.
She says the positive feedback from her customers keeps her going.
“Customers who keep coming back for more designs encourage me as it shows that they loved and appreciated what I did before.”

She said her favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur was making money on a daily basis, not having to wait for a monthly salary which won’t even be satisfactory.
Given an opportunity to restart her career, she says she wouldn’t do anything different.
To keep up with latest trends, Pule says she follows celebrities whom she considers trend setters.

“I often search online to keep myself up to date with the latest trends. Celebrities love beautiful, stylish and up-to-date designs so I follow them to be updated on new things.”
Her advice to entrepreneurs is to give it all and be devoted to their work.
“Every good work starts from being in love with what you do. Business is a risk one should take without any hesitation and you will later enjoy the fruits of what you have sown. There are challenges in every business development, but they are all temporary and meant to make you stronger.”

’Mapule Motsopa

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Lawyer in trouble



A local lawyer, Advocate Molefi Makase, is in soup after he flew into a rage, insulting his wife and smashing her phone at a police station.

It was not possible to establish why Adv Makase was so mad at his wife. He is now expected to appear before the Tšifa-li-Mali Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, he was released from custody on free bail on condition that he attends remands.

Magistrate Mpotla Koaesa granted Advocate Makase bail after his lawyer, Advocate Kefuoe Machaile, pleaded that he had to appear for his clients in the Court of Appeal.

Advocate Makase is facing two charges of breaching peace and malicious damage to property.

According to the charge sheet, on October 5, 2023, within the precincts of the Leribe Police Station, Advocate Makase allegedly used obscene, threatening, or insulting language or behaviour, or acted with an intent to incite a breach of the peace.

The prosecution alleges that the lawyer shouted at his wife, ’Mamahao Makase, and damaged her Huawei Y5P cell phone “with an intention to cause harm” right at police station.

During his initial appearance before Magistrate Koaesa, Advocate Makase expressed remorse for his actions and sought the court’s leniency, pleading for bail due to an impending appearance in the Court of Appeal.

His lawyer, Advocate Machaile, informed the court that an arrangement had been made with the police to secure his release the following day, as he had spent a night in detention.

Advocate Machaile recounted his efforts to persuade the police to release him on the day of his arrest.

He noted that the police had assured them of his release the following day, which indeed came to fruition.

Following his release, he was instructed to present himself before the court, which he dutifully complied with.

Advocate Machaile underscored Advocate Makase’s standing as a recognised legal practitioner in the court.

Notably, he was scheduled to appear in the Court of Appeal but had to reschedule his commitment later in the day to accommodate his court appearance.

Advocate Machaile asserted that Advocate Makase presented no flight risk, as he resides in Hlotse with his family and has no motive to evade his legal obligations.

He respectfully petitioned the court for his release on bail, emphasising that he had demonstrated his ability to adhere to the court’s conditions.

The Crown Counsel, Advocate Taelo Sello, expressed no objection to the bail application, acknowledging that the accused had a forthcoming matter in the Court of Appeal.

Consequently, the court granted Advocate Makase bail without any financial conditions, with the stipulation that he must not tamper with state witnesses and must fully participate in the trial process until its conclusion.

’Malimpho Majoro

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Trio in court for killing ‘witches’



THREE elderly women were all stabbed to death with a spear during a deadly night after they were accused of being witches.

Three suspects, all from Ha-Kholoko village in Roma, appeared in the High Court this week facing a charge of murder.
They are Jakobo Mofolo, Oele Poto, and Pakiso Lehoko.

They accused the elderly women of bewitching one of Poto’s relative who had died.

The stunning details of the murder was unravelled in court this week, thanks to Tlhaba Bochabela, 32, who is the crown witness.

Bochabela told High Court judge, Justice ’Mabatšoeneng Hlaele, last week that he had been invited to become part of the murder group but chickened out at the last minute.

Bochabela said in March 2020, he was invited by Rethabile Poto to come to his house in the evening.

He said when he went there, he found Mofolo, Poto, and Lehoko already at the house. There were two other men who he did not identify.

“I was told that the very same night we were going to do some task, we were going to kill some people,” Bochabela told Justice Hlaele.

He said he asked which people were going to be killed and was told that they were ’Malekhooa Maeka, ’Mathlokomelo Poto, ’Mampolokeng Masasa.

They said the three women had successfully bewitched Rethabile Poto’s uncle leading to his death.

Bochabela said after he was told of this plot, he agreed to implement it but requested that he be allowed to go to his house to fetch his weapon.

He said Lehoko was however suspicious that he was withdrawing from the plot and mockingly said “let this woman go and sleep, we can see that he is afraid and is running away”.

Bochabela said the only person he told the truth to, that he was indeed going to his home to sleep instead of going to murder the three elderly women was Mofolo who also told him that he was leaving too.

He said he told Mofolo that he felt uncomfortable with the murder plan.

Bochabela said he left and when he arrived at his place he told his wife all about the meeting and the plot to kill the women.

He said his wife commended him for his decision to pull out.

“I told my wife to lock the door and not respond to anyone that would come knocking looking for me,” Bochabela said.

He said later in the night, Rethabile Poto arrived at his place and called him out but they did not respond until he left.

Bochabela said in the morning they discovered that indeed the men had carried out their mission.

The village chief of Ha-Kholoko, Chief Thabang Lehoko, told Justice Hlaele that it was between 11 pm and 12 midnight when he received a phone call from one Pakiso Maseka who is a neighbour to one of the murdered women.

Chief Lehoko said Maseka told him to rush to ’Mampolokeng Masasa’s place to see what evil had been done to her.

“I rushed to Masasa’s place and on arrival I found Pakiso in the company of Moitheri Masasa,” Chief Lehoko said.

He said he found the old lady on the bed, naked with her legs spread wide.

“I was embarrassed by the sight of the old lady in that state, naked and covered in blood,” the chief said.

He said he went out and asked Maseka what had happened but Maseka referred him to Moitheri Masasa.

Chief Lehoko said Masasa told him that there were people with spears who had threatened to kill him if he came out of the house.

He said Maseka said he knew that Masasa’s neighbour, ’Malekhooa Maeka, was a light sleeper and she could have heard something.

The chief then sent one Patrick Lehoko to Maeka’s house to check if she had heard anything but Patrick came back saying Maeka was not at her house.

“I immediately stood up and went to ’Malekhooa’s place,” Chief Lehoko said.

He said when he arrived, he knocked at her door but there was no response so he kicked the door open, went in and called out ’Malekhooa Maeka by name.

Chief Lehoko said he then lit his phone and saw her lying in bed covered in blankets.

He said he then went closer to her and shook her but she was heavy.

Chief Lehoko said he tried to shake her again one last time while still calling her out but he touched blood.

He said he immediately left and went back to tell others that Maeka seemed to be dead too.

“I decided to go and buy airtime from the nearest shop which I had passed through near ’Matlhokomelo Poto’s home.”

He said on his way he met one Sebata Poto who asked him who he was.

Chief Lehoko said he only replied by telling him that the two women, Masasa and Maeka, had been murdered.

He said Sebata Poto told him that “’Matlhokomelo has been stabbed with a spear too”.

Chief Lehoko said he rushed to ’Matlhokomelo Poto’s house where he found her seated in the middle of the house supported by her children with blood oozing from her chest, gasping for air.

“I stepped out and went to get airtime, but I found her dead when I returned from the shop,” the chief said.

The case continues.

Tholoana Lesenya

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Opposition fights back



THE opposition is launching a nasty fightback after Prime Minister Sam Matekane defanged their no-confidence motion by roping in new partners to firm up his government.

Matekane’s surprise deal with the Basotho Action Party (BAP) has trimmed the opposition’s support in parliament and thrown their motion into doubt.

But the opposition has now filed another motion that seeks to get Matekane and his MPs disqualified from parliament on account that they were elected when they had business interests with the government.

The motion is based on section 59 of the constitution which disqualifies a person from being sworn-in as an MP if they have “any such interest in any such government contract as may be so prescribed”.

Section 59 (6) describes a government contract as “any contract made with the Government of Lesotho or with a department of that Government or with an officer of that Government contracting as such”.

Prime Minister Matekane’s Matekane Group of Companies (MGC) has a history of winning road construction tenders. Other Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) MPs, most of whom were in business, had had business dealings with the government.

It is however not clear if the MPs were still doing business with the government at the time of their swearing-in.
Matekane’s MGC Park is housing the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), which is a government institution established by the constitution, getting its funds from the consolidated funds.

The motion was brought by the Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) leader Lekhetho Rakuoane who is a key figure in the opposition’s bid to topple Matekane.

The motion appears to be a long shot but should be taken in the context of a political game that has become nasty.
Advocate Rakuoane said the IEC’s tenancy at the MGC is one of their targets.

“The IEC is one of the government departments,” Rakuoane said.

“It is currently unethical that it has hired the prime minister’s building.”

“But after the motion, he will have to cut ties with the IEC or he will be kicked out of parliament.”

The Democratic Congress (DC) leader, Mathibeli Mokhothu, said although the IEC is an independent body, it can still be regarded as part of the government because it gets its funding from the consolidated fund.

The Basotho Covenant Movement (BCM)’s Reverend Tšepo Lipholo, who seconded the motion, said the Matekane-led government “is dominated by tenderpreneurs who have been doing business with the government since a long time ago”.

“Now they have joined politics, they must not do business with the government,” Lipholo said.

He said some of the MPs in the ruling parties are still doing business with the government despite their promises before the election to stop doing that.

“Those who will not abide by the law should be disqualified as MPs,” Lipholo said.

“Basotho’s small businesses are collapsing day-by-day, yet people who are in power continue to take tenders for themselves.”

He applauded the Abia constituency MP Thuso Makhalanyane, who was recently expelled from Matekane’s RFP for rebellion because he withdrew his car from government engagement after he was sworn in as an MP.

“He set a good example by withdrawing his vehicle where it was hired by the government,” Lipholo said.

Rakuoane said during the past 30 years after Lesotho’s return to democratic rule, section 59 of the constitution has not been attended to even when it was clear that some MPs had business dealings with the government.

“This section stops you from entering parliament when doing business with the government. Those who are already members will have to leave,” he said.

Rakuoane said they are waiting for Speaker Tlohang Sekhamane to sign the motion so that the parliament business committee can set a date for its debate.

“The law will also serve to assist ordinary Basotho businesses as they will not compete with the executive,” he said.

“There are many Basotho businesses in business these MPs are in. They must get those tenders instead.”

The new motion comes barely a week after a court application aimed at disqualifying Mokhothu.

The government-sponsored application sought the Constitutional Court to declare Mokhothu unfit to be prime minister because he was convicted of fraud in 2007.

Mokhothu has been suggested as Matekane’s replacement should the motion of no confidence pass in parliament.

Nkheli Liphoto

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