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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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BNP wins rescission order against SG



MASERU – THE Basotho National Party (BNP) this week successfully applied for a rescission of a court order that would have seen the party’s secretary general, Thato Lethobane, being awarded M126 000. Lethobane’s case will now be heard again at the Directorate of Dispute Prevention and Resolution (DDPR) on Monday.

The party raised technical legal reasons that prompted the cancellation of the award that ordered the party to pay Lethobane for the time he did not receive his salary since his suspension.

Lethobane was suspended in October last year after he was accused of embezzling party funds and he asked the DDPR to order the party to pay him from October last year to April this year.

The BNP deputy secretary, Moeketsi Hanyane, who is holding forte at the party’s administration, told thepost last night that “Lethobane’s glow was short-lived and was wrong in the first place”.

“The DDPR award against us will not see the light of day because Lethobane got suspended for two years after we discovered that he stole the party’s funds,” Hanyane said.

“A thief is a thief and we cannot allow him to claim monies he is unworthy of,” he said.

“We have opened a case against him at the police and he cannot come around and say we owe him.”

Hanyane said Lethobane was suspended for two years so that after that period, if he still loved wanted to be part of the party, he could come and participate in its affairs again.

“The suspension was not meant to put him aside for a while to allow investigations but it is a punishment for what we found on him,” he said.

Hanyane said Lethobane is not owed anything for that period because he is officially out of office as a result of the punishment he got from the party not because he was suspended pending investigations.

He said the BNP did not defend itself at the DDPR and the arbitrator ruled in favour of Lethobane in default.

“We did not go to the DDPR on technical issues and we have since applied for and acquired a rescission of the award,” he said.

Lethobane declined to get into the details of his case with the BNP but only confirmed that he had won an award at the DDPR.

“After I realised how much they owed me I decided to go to labour and successfully claimed my payment,” he said.

“The case judgment was done in my favor, even though I will not discuss that issue much.”

The party pays its secretary general M18 000 per month.

Nkheli Liphoto

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Killer police investigated



MASERU – PRIME Minister Moeketsi Majoro has set up a special team to investigate police officers who killed a student during a protest at the National University of Lesotho (NUL) last week. Majoro’s decision comes as pressure mounts on the government and the police to identify the officers who pulled the trigger and bring them to justice.

The police killed Kopano Makutoane and seriously injured six more students on Thursday last week during a strike over their stipends that were not paid in full. Makutoane was shot with multiple live bullets in the face.

Police Minister Lepota Sekola, Commissioner of Police Holomo Molibeli and Development Planning Minister, Selibe Mochoboroane, confirmed that a team has been set up but were reluctant to give further details. thepost has been told that the police have zeroed in on 12 police officers who were part of the team that responded to the protest.

The police management is said to be close to suspending some of the officers and opening a murder case against them. Their names cannot, however, be revealed because they have not been officially identified and charged.

Majoro visited the Makutoane family last week and promised justice for their slain son. The strike was triggered by the National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS)’s delay to pay students their monthly stipends.

Those who received the allowances only got M450 instead of their usual monthly stipend of M1 100. Several eyewitnesses and victims told thepost that the police conducted raids targeting NUL students even after the protesters had dispersed. Sello Khechane, a second-year student, said the police fired live ammunition at the protesters.

“We started fleeing the place and did not even realise that one of us was shot near the gate,” Khechane said.

One of the injured students said about 20 police officers knocked at her rented room when she was sleeping, dragged her out and beat her with sticks and truncheons.

“I was still wearing my gown and was not even part of the protest,” she said.

Another girl who had visited her brother was caught in the crossfire as police went on the rampage.

“I was watching a movie when I saw a mob of police approaching the door and asking all of us in the house to come out,” she said.

She said the police used sticks and kicked her.

“I tried to convince them that I am not a student there, but they refused to listen,” she said.

The Social Development Minister, Selibe Mochoboroane, said he immediately intervened when he was informed of the disagreement between the Students’ Representative Council and the NMDS management over the stipends.

“The school told us that there was a problem as students walked out of examination rooms.”

He also said the NMDS told him that there is a law that says students should not get full amounts when their school days are cut short during a month.

“We made a decision that students should get full amounts,” he said.

He said the students were notified that they would get full amounts but continued with the strike.

“I am sorry that one student lost his life.” The incident has sparked an outcry from different political parties.

The Basotho Action Party (BAP) leader and former Vice-Chancellor of the NUL, Professor Nqosa Mahao, condemned the killing saying it was the third time police have used force during protests and ended up taking lives.

“We are very saddened and embarrassed by this act,” Professor Mahao said.

He said they condemn the police actions that led to the death of the student, saying the behaviour by police shows that Basotho’s lives are not safe. He recalled that in 2009 the police shot a student during protests.

“They shot Tumelo Mohlomi in 2017, she was also shot by the police,” Professor Mahao said, adding that the police officers involved in the incident were not charged.

He blamed the conflicts on the NMDS management “that does not do its job correctly”. The Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) leader, Sam Matekane, met NUL students near the campus on Tuesday.

“We condemn that behaviour, it was uncalled for, it was not necessary,” Matekane said.

He said the police’s job is to protect and save people, not to kill people as they did or do.

“When promised sponsorship, we are expecting you to get them as promised,” he said.

“It does not make sense that someone can carry a gun and shoot an unarmed student.”

He also pledged to provide the students with transport to Quthing where Makutoane will be laid to rest.

“We will make sure that those who were affected get the necessary counselling and also help them,” he said.

The NUL management also condemned the killing and injuring of other students. In a statement, the university said it was aggrieved by “the plan by the NMDS to prorate the student’s allowance for June 2022”. The university pleaded with the students to remain calm, adding that it has started visiting all the affected families.

Staff Reporter

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Mafeteng magistrates’ court records burnt



MASERU – A fire gutted the records section of the Mafeteng Magistrate’s Court last week. The police suspect it was an act of arson. Thousands of crucial case records were destroyed.

This could affect hundreds of cases that were pending in the court. Police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli confirmed the incident, saying investigations have started but no arrests have been made.

“But our preliminary investigations show that the court was intentionally set on fire,” S/Supt Mopeli said.

“Important court documents have been set alight together with some chairs and a table.”

A source close to the case told thepost that a container of petrol was found outside a broken window. The guard was not at work when the incident happened.

In 2010 computers containing information on cars registered in Maseru and Leribe were burnt in a fire that police suspected was deliberately started to destroy records and cover up corruption.

The Integrated Financial Management System computers, National Transport Information System server, computers, and a printer were destroyed.

The incident happened as the police were investigating a syndicate that was illegally registering stolen cars.

In 2019 a fire at the Ministry of Health’s head office destroyed computers and records.

Although ministry officials said the fire could have been caused by an electrical fault, suspicions of foul play lingered on.

Majara Molupe

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