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Pumping up gospel music



MASERU – FROM the age of nine, Dominic Makoala was already making music. Now 34, Makoala has grown to be one of Lesotho’s most sensational Afro-pop gospel singers.
He was brought up in a family with deep Christian values and he has always been attached to everything spiritual.

In a country that does little to honour its artistes, Makoala has managed to bag some awards in the gospel music category during music awards.
He is remembered by music fanatics for winning awards hosted by Ultimate FM, bagging the Afro Pop Album of the Year Ultimate Music Award in 2016.

“I first started producing music when I was nine-years-old. By the time I was thirteen, I had produced two more songs which I sang in front of a congregation at church. In high school, I would sing, imitating music professionals like Craig David because I drew so much inspiration from him,” he said.

Makoala says his music is composed to embrace Africanism.
The beats, rhymes and rhythms he uses are pro-African as he believes that one can express themselves more elaborately by sticking to their culture.

“The generation of musicians we have at the moment is of those who embrace our African roots and, of course, our Bosotho. Dawn has fallen on us and our traditional being is revived in our music. The period we are at the moment as musicians is renaissance. Unlike before, we are now accustomed to our customs and heritage which we integrate in our music. My kind of music can actually be classified as Traditional African Jazz. It fuses with African sounds and melodies and is inspired by nature,” he said.

He puts emphasis on being genuine and original as a cornerstone to become a reputable artiste with quality music.
He said artistes can copy from other international artistes but it remains ideal to keep and build their trademark.

“Being originally African andnot Western is what it takes to become a quality music producer. One has to infuse raw African taste in their voices. This also has to be supplemented with the best band or studio programmer coupled with a suitable producer or director of the song,” he said.

Since his music is African, his listenership compromises the young and the old.
The moving notes he uses in his songs get people glued to his sounds.“My music is soulful. You know, nowadays people are carrying a lot in their minds. It is essential as a musician that when you produce music, you give the audience something that is going to enlighten their burdens in life. I always strive to produce songs that have a nourishing effect on my supporters and everybody who comes across my music. I feel appeased when I get feedback from listeners that a certain song from my albums has really changed their lives in a positive way,” he said.

“All age groups are enthralled by my music and they enjoy it a lot. It is somehow like modernised African music which connects people to their roots and Creator as well,” he added.
Makoala has shared the stage and partnered with different international artistes.

“I have had the opportunity to perform at events with renowned artists like Dr Tumi, Lebo Sekgobela, Joyous Celebration, Bhudaza Mapefane and Robi Malinga, to name but a few. These artistes give it their all when on stage. They make sure that the performance is top notch. Despite them being familiar with songs they never stop rehearsing. Back stage, they channel all their energy to make sure they would give their best when they are on stage.”

“My participation in events with these lads has motivated me in many ways. I have seen how far talent can take you in life provided you work hard. If you do not make any effort to nurture your talent then you are less likely to make it in the music industry. I have also learned that it takes discipline and character to fully comprehend and come to terms with the challenging dynamics of music production,” he said.

Makoala’s track ‘Sivuselele’ is so strong that it stands out. It portrays his full musical identity.

“On my album, the award winning song, ‘Sivuselele’, is an exceptional song. It’s unique in taste and doesn’t remind a person of any musician except me. It defines me and stamps a statement of who I really am,” he said.

Music has evolved a lot in the 20th and 21st century.
Many trends have been in the production and distribution of music which has made it easier for people to access music.

The days of storing music on bulky objects such as cassettes and CDs are long gone, thanks to technology.

“In as much as there are negative elements brought by technology in music production, there are a lot of positives. With technology, we are now able to market ourselves globally without having to engage in costly expenses. A video can go viral and in a blink of an eye everybody would want to have their hand on you. In the past, most musicians lost a fortune of their music in demos as they had stored in objects which could be misplaced or lost; a person can now store music online while they are waiting to finish it. It will never get lost.
“Unlike before when artistes were expected to compile a full album of about ten songs before they could release the songs to the public, with technology now, one can release a song or two and start gathering attention,” he said.

“On the other hand, they may fail to enjoy the proceeds of their labour as there are scores of pseudo online music streaming and downloading platforms. The bad thing about technology is that piracy is prevalent in the distribution of music and artistes do not get to reap from their talents. There are platforms online which simply sell music without paying the artistes. Even consumers have a tendency of sharing music through Bluetooth, which doesn’t benefit us as musicians,” he added.

Despite the drawbacks of not fully benefitting from their music, Makoala is of the opinion that gospel musicians must work harder to improve their art as this will ultimately make listeners realise the importance of being fair and getting music through proper channels.

“Music is generally not receiving enough acknowledgment in the country. There are few platforms made available for musicians to show their talents. There should be annual music awards that would encourage musicians to work harder. The standards of our recording studios have to improve. Fellow musicians should remain professional and stop engaging in drugs and alcohol. They must resemble good spiritual ethos,” he said.

Calvin Motekase

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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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