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Three gunned down



MAQHAKA-THREE men died while two others sustained serious injuries after gunmen opened fire in a Berea shop on Sunday night.
Villagers say the men who stormed the shop in Makola were on a revenge mission.

The say the gang’s leader, who comes from the same village and is linked to previous murders, was avenging his brother who was killed some time ago.
Thabiso Masoka, the shop owner, and two customers were killed in the crossfire.

Makola’s Chieftainess ’Maseqobela Tumo says she suspects the attack could be linked to Basotho gang wars in South Africa.
Villagers rushed to the shop when they heard gunshots at around 7pm.
One of the survivors was taken to Berea hospital and discharged the next morning. The other is admitted at Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital where he is nursing gunshots wounds to the waist, thigh and leg.

One of the survivors, Hauhang Mapiloko, who was shot in the chest, believes he was the target. Mapiloko says a man wearing a mask entered the shop and pointed what appeared to be a toy gun at him.
“I told him he was scaring us with his toy gun but he did not respond,” said Mapiloko, who spoke to thepost as he recovered at home.

He said one of the customers ran out of the shop.
“Afterwards, I heard a gunshot and I went to check what was happening. I saw him lying down.”

“While I was getting closer to him, the one with ‘a toy gun’ reappeared with another man and they started firing at us.”
He said he tried to hide behind a tractor in the yard.
“It wasn’t helping I rushed back to the shop where I hid behind the counter with another customer”.

The attackers however pursued him into the shop where they continued spraying bullets.
“So many rounds were fired at us including the shop owner. They left believing all of us had died.”

Mapiloko said he feigned death right after he was shot on the chest.
“The person who was with me behind the counter tried to scream but I put my hand on his mouth for him to shut up”.
The gunmen then went for the shop owner, shooting him several times before ransacking the till and disappearing.
“I realised he was no more”.

Villagers took him and the other injured man to Berea Hospital.
“I am filled with this rage and I want to revenge,” said Mapiloko who was discharged on Monday morning.
He doesn’t believe the police will help because they appear to be close to the gang leader.

“I will still die because of him.”
Relebohile Mapiloko, a relative to Hauhang Mapiloko, said the gang leader “has so many murder cases reported at the Teya-Teyaneng police station but he has never been arrested”.
“He does not get arrested at all. He doesn’t even spend a mere two days in jail. We already know that he won’t be arrested even now,” Relebohile said.

He said a few years ago angry villagers burnt the gang leader’s house and his mother’s house after he killed a villager.
“We are no longer shocked as we are used to it. We will not be shocked even if he doesn’t get arrested as we already expect that.”
“Going to the police is a waste of time.”

He said the gang leader shot and killed his relative but was never arrested. ’Matiisetso Mapiloko, Hauhang Mapiloko’s mother, said she believes the attacker will come back to “finish us all off”.
The shop owner’s mother, ’Mathabiso Masoka, is inconsolable. ’Mathabiso said she suspected something was wrong when her son did not pick her calls soon after the gunshots. She then called his wife who answered the call with a scream.

“I heard her crying saying please come, he was shot.”
At the shop she found her son in a pool of blood.
“He moved his hand and I realised he was still alive and I called for help,” she said.

His wife, ’Mareatile Masoka, said she was still in shock and she no longer feels safe in her house.
“I am a business person, how am I going to operate after this?”
“I am frightened and after this, I might be forced to close the shop at six,” she said.

“What if I close there and they come to my house as (the two buildings) are close to each?”
The Makola’s Chieftainess ’Maseqobela Tumo said she learnt of the incident the next morning when the Teya-Teyaneng Police asked her about it.

“In my whole life, I have never had such terrible things,” she said.
“This appears to have started in Gauteng but I don’t have a precise explanation whether it involves famo gangs or what.”
“This has put us in danger as the revenge is continuous.”

’Mapule Motsopa

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Police hunt former minister



THE police have launched a hunt for former police minister, Lepota Sekola, who is suspected of involvement in stock theft.
Police want to arrest Sekola in connection with two cattle carcasses that were found at his grandfather’s funeral in Borokhoaneng three weeks ago.

During the initial interview, Sekola had insisted that the cows belonged to his late grandfather who had kept them in South Africa for better pastures.

The police didn’t arrest him at that time because investigations were still in the early stages. Further investigations have however led the police to believe that the animals were stolen from South Africa.

But when they were ready for the arrest, Sekola could not be found at his home or on his phone.

Police say Sekola will be charged with unlawful possession and illegal importation of two cows from South Africa.

The National Stock Theft Coordinator, Senior Superintendent Mapesela Klaass, told thepost last night that they “have completed investigations but he (Sekola) is nowhere to be seen”.

“We cannot get him on his mobile phones,” S/Supt Klaass said, adding that the police have been “visiting his home but he is not there”.

“His family members are aware that we are looking for him,” he said.

S/Supt Klaass said they are continuing with their search and as soon as they find him, they are going to drag him to the courts.

He said the police suspect the cows were brought from South Africa to be slaughtered for Sekola’s grandfather’s funeral.

Police sources told thepost that one of the cows had new branding while another had nothing. Both had holes on the ears that signalled that they used to have ear tags.

Majara Molupe

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Magistrate saves WILSA boss



A Maseru magistrate, Nthabiseng Moopisa, this week stayed the criminal prosecution of Advocate ’Mamosa Mohlabula who is accused of tax evasion, money laundering and corruption.

In her application Advocate Mohlabula, who is the director of Women and Law in Southern Africa (WILSA), said the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) should not charge her pending finalisation of her tax evasion case.

Advocate Mohlabula is out on bail after she was formally charged with tax evasion in July last year.

She told Magistrate Moopisa that the DPP, Advocate Hlalefang Motinyane, was wrong to have agreed with the Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) to bring charges against her.

“In my viewpoint, the DCEO cannot be heard to charge me in relation to matters already seized with this Honourable Court,” she said in an affidavit.

She also said there is a pending civil case in the High Court in which the DCEO’s abuse of power is referenced, saying the precise way the case is handled will depend “on the way an alleged offence comes to the light”.

“Before that pending case is finalised, DCEO has no jurisdiction to detail me to court over isolated phenomenon of tax evasion and or over grievances of former employees of WILSA,” she said.
Advocate Mohlabula was charged together with the WILSA’s chief accounting officer.

She argued that it was WILSA that was being investigated, not individuals, further saying that was “a significant safeguard that the DCEO was impartial from an objective viewpoint”.

“To exclude any legitimate doubt in this respect the DCEO returned the items it seized from WILSA,” she said.

“This was a realistic and practical step towards administering justice and to avoid premature embarrassment to the management of WILSA.”

She said the Board of Trustees of WILSA were sent briefing notes which in certain respects reflected that the DCEO returned the properties of WILSA without warning them that they were suspects.

“In any event, we proceeded to fashion our arguments before the High Court. There was, and could be, no evidence to back up the decision of the DCEO to apply for the search warrant,” she said.

Advocate Mohlabula said before they took the matter to the High Court, she cooperated with the DCEO and it conducted an inquiry into the alleged crimes.

“Now that the matter is pending before the High Court, there is no more reason for the DCEO to remand me before the pending cases are finalised,” she said.

Staff Reporter

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Mphaka barred from ABC deputy’s race



THE All Basotho Convention (ABC) has barred former Government Secretary Moahloli Mphaka and three others from contesting for the deputy leader’s position at an elective conference set for this week.
The three are Kefeletsoe Mojela, Katleho Molelle, and Lekhetho Mosito.

Mosito was an MP who was appointed Defence Minister for a day and removed the following day during Dr Moeketsi Majoro’s premiership.
The elective conference is set to be held at the Leqele High School hall this weekend.

A circular from the ABC said the three did not qualify to enter the race because they had not held any positions in the party’s committees.

The decision to bar the three is reminiscent of the same tactics that saw former leader Thomas Thabane block Professor Nqosa Mahao from contesting for the party’s deputy leader’s position.
Professor Mahao subsequently walked away and formed the Basotho Action Party (BAP).

A weakened ABC has never recovered from that split.

Mphaka and his colleagues were vying for the deputy leader’s position until they were stopped in their tracks by the circular which was issued out on Monday this week.
Dr Pinkie Manamolela is the current deputy leader.

She was plucked from the women’s league to replace Dr Majoro who had resigned from the national executive committee after losing the leadership race to Nkaku Kabi in 2022.

There is a high chance that the four could drag the ABC to court to assert their right to contest. The legal wrangles will likely destabilise the party that is still smarting from a thorough thrashing in general elections held in October 2022.

Mphaka this week told thepost that he will challenge the decision to block him in the courts of law.
“They are crazy people,” Mphaka said.

“I will not allow this to happen,” he said.

“I have already instructed my lawyers to launch an urgent application in the High Court to challenge the decision before Friday this week.”

He complained that it was not clear why the party had decided to kick him out of the race after he spent a lot of time and resources campaigning.

Mphaka said the national executive committee “usually allows members to contest for positions without considering whether they were ever in the constituency committees or not”.

The contenders in the race are former Water Minister Samonyane Ntsekele, ex-Police MP Lehlohonolo Moramotse, former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Leshoboro Mohlajoa, and Maseru Star Taxi Association member Sekhonyana Mosenene.

A member of the national executive committee told thepost that “many of us support Mphaka and Kefeletsoe at all costs”.

“We were dismayed when we saw the circular removing the duo from the race,” he said.

He said many ABC members were rallying behind Mphaka because “he has been campaigning even before everyone could start”.

“They know he has lots of followers.”

He said it is unfair that Mosenene has been allowed to run but he has never held any position in any constituency except that he represented his taxi association in the ABC national executive committee.
“Why has he been allowed to contest yet he is just like Mphaka and Kefeletsoe?”

He complained that Sekhonyana, while representing taxi operators in the committee, was eventually made the deputy party spokesman despite not being in any constituency committee after ’Matebatso Doti resigned from the position.

“Mphaka was chosen by the party to lead the 2022 elections campaign teams and develop a party manifesto,” he said.

“He was allowed to do all that without being involved in any party structures.”

The party’s spokesman Montoeli Masoetsa declined to comment.

Dr Manamolela told thepost that “the decision was not made by the party’s national executive committee”.

“I do not want to talk much …but it is not true that the party’s NEC decided to remove Mphaka and Kefeletsoe”.

Kabi could not be reached for comment.

Nkheli Liphoto

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